UK producers have directed their anger at the EU after it set provisional anti-dumping duties on Chinese imports of rebar between 9.2 and 13%.

Industry representatives said the move would fail to stem the flood of Chinese rebar into the country, which now accounts for nearly half of sales. The influx has seen rebar prices fall by 20% over the year.

Last April, the European Commission launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of high-fatigue performance (HFP) rebar from China, following a complaint from the European steel association Eurofer.

Dumping is the practice of selling a product on export markets at either below its price on home markets or below its cost of production. It is regarded as a form of protectionism and as a predatory tactic in international trade to win market share.

Several main contractors have signed up to use European sourced rebar, but pressures to keep costs down are seeing demand for cheaper Chinese rebar running at record levels.

Gareth Stace, director of trade body UK Steel, said, “The Commission’s highly thorough investigation of Chinese exports has highlighted dumping margins in excess of a whopping 60%. However, given that the European Commission always imposes the minimum duties possible, unlike the US, then what we end up with are duties that are totally inadequate and may not have any material effect.

“If this was the US we would have seen duties set at 66% and brought in after 45 days from the start of the investigation, not 9% after almost a year, from a drawn out and procrastinating EU machine.”

He added, “Unless these provisional duties are increased, then we will see further job losses in the rebar sector in the future, as China shows no sign of stemming this tidal wave of rebar exports, with ever increasing tonnage reaching our shores.”

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