The European Commission’s Trade Directorate General (DG Trade) has launched an investigation in to allegations of dumping of Chinese made rebar on European markets. The probe follows a complaint by the European Steel Association (EUROFER) in March and relates to high fatigue performance (HPF) rebar.

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.

A notice published in the EU’s official journal says that as China is regarded as a non-market economy, the normal price for exported rebar was established by EUROFER by looking at prices for the same products in Qatar and the UAE. “On this basis, the dumping margins calculated are significant for the country concerned,” said the Commission’s statement.

It went on to say that this was damaging EU industry.

EUROFER director general Axel Eggert added, “This was no longer sustainable. Appearing for the first time in the EU in 2013, in only two years Chinese HFP rebars took a fourth of the market facilitated by price opportunistic trading.”

EUROFER has also alleged that Chinese manufacturers are exploiting a tax loophole, by adding small amounts of chrome to its steel so it qualifies for tax rebate on the basis that it is an alloy.

The Commission will now launch a formal procedure to determine whether dumping has taken place. This will involve it contacting a number of Chinese rebar producers along with any appropriate trade associations and government bodies, which will be required to answer questionnaires. IT will also look into the impact on EU producers based on the volumes of rebar being imported and the price differential.

Under EU rules, the investigation has to be concluded within 15 months, and any provisional anti-dumping measures must be imposed within nine months.

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