Fastener makers may still face strife in EU
Updated: 2011-08-05 11:13
By Ding Qingfen and Li Jiabao (China Daily European Weekly)
The World Trade Organization has ruled that the European Union's high duties on Chinese fasteners are against trade laws. Shen Jingwei / for China Daily
Repeal of anti-dumping duties is likely to be delayed
The European Union may launch a "re-examination" of fasteners imported from China even though the World Trade Organization ruled that the bloc's high duties on Chinese goods are against the law, a source tells China Daily.
Yang Fengdan, deputy secretary-general of the Jiaxing Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export, also says the Chinese government is concerned that the EU may not remove the anti-dumping duties on Chinese imports as soon as possible, and it is considering drafting documents to urge the bloc to do so.
As a high-level official of the Jiaxing Association of Fasteners Import and Export Companies, Yang was among representatives of the industry who attended a meeting held by the Ministry of Commerce recently.
Last month, the WTO rejected the EU's appeal, which claimed China was dumping fasteners on the European market.
It ruled that the EU's high anti-dumping duties arbitrarily contravene global trade law.
In January 2009 the EU imposed anti-dumping duties of 26.5 to 85 percent on China's fasteners for five years.
On July 31, 2009, China brought the case to the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism, the country's first such case against the EU.
China is the world's biggest producer of screws, nuts, bolts and washers, and the EU is a major destination for its fasteners. Its annual exports of fasteners to the EU reached $600 million (419 million euros) last year.
While companies in the fastener industry have welcomed the WTO ruling, believing exports to the EU can be resumed, Yang says that things may not go as smoothly as expected.
"Domestic manufacturers have to give priority to standardizing exports and improving quality", because there is a "possibility that the EU will launch a new round of review and investigations of fasteners imported from China," she says.
The WTO's ruling on the EU fastener case took effect on July 28, and it usually takes 10 to 15 months for countries to amend rules and withdraw anti-dumping duties.
But the EU is "probably unwilling to do so, delaying the implementation or partly implementing the WTO ruling", Yang says.
Fastener manufacturers are concerned, too. "The WTO's ruling is definitely a victory for China, but we will be closely watching how it is carried out," says Gu Zhaogen, general director of Pinghu Dragon Fastener Co Ltd.
While the European debt crisis is spreading, more trade remedy cases and other measures against Chinese imports will be initiated by the bloc in the coming months, experts say.
The EU Commission has just decided to introduce five-year, punitive import duties of up to 69.7 percent on the imports of Chinese bathroom, kitchen and paving tiles, and extend its anti-dumping duties on Chinese bicycles and bicycle parts until 2016.
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