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China | Brussels, 16 August 2013

EU requests WTO Panel on Chinese Anti-Dumping duties on Steel Tubes

The European Union today requested the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva to rule over a dispute concerning Chinese anti-dumping duties imposed on imports of high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes (“HP-SSST”) from the EU.

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The EU believes the Chinese anti-dumping duties are incompatible with WTO law, both on procedural and on substantive grounds. At the EU’s request, consultations were held on 17 and 18 July 2013 to resolve the dispute. However, they did not satisfy the EU's concerns about the WTO-incompatibility of the Chinese measures.

High-performance stainless steel seamless tubes are used mainly in superheaters and reheaters of supercritical or ultra-supercritical boilers in power stations. EU exports of these tubes to China were worth some €90 million in 2009, but fell to under €20 million around the time when China imposed definitive anti-dumping duties in November 2012. Since then, the duties of 9.7% to 11.1% imposed on imports of steel tubes from the EU are significantly hampering access to the Chinese market.

"The EU continues its fight against unjustified Chinese trade defence measures, which do not comply with WTO rules and often seem to be motivated by retaliation. The Chinese case was brought shortly after a European case against Chinese steel imports. Given its obvious technical weaknesses, we are confident that the WTO will support our claims against these anti-dumping duties" said EU Trade Spokesman John Clancy.


On 8 November 2012 China confirmed its earlier provisional decision and imposed definitive anti-dumping duties on certain high-performance seamless tubes of stainless steel imported from the European Union and Japan. China initiated the investigation on 8 September 2011 after the EU imposed on 29 June 2011 provisional anti-dumping duty on imports of certain seamless pipes and tubes of stainless steel originating in China.

On 20 December 2012 Japan started procedures concerning the Chinese measures pursuant to the WTO Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes and the WTO Anti-dumping Agreement. A panel was established between Japan and China at the meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body of 24 May 2013.

On 13 June 2013 the EU equally requested WTO consultations with China. Japan joined these consultations. The consultations took place on 17-18 July 2013, but the discussions did not succeed in resolving the dispute.

The EU’s request for the establishment of a WTO panel will be discussed for the first time at the meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of 30 August 2013. At that meeting China can, under the dispute settlement rules of the WTO, object to the establishment of the panel. If the EU tables the issue again at the following DSB meeting, China will be unable to block the request and, consequently, the panel would be established.

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