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EU imposes new anti-dumping duties on steel from China and Russia

The European Commission has imposed new duties on the import of steel products from China and Russia in an attempt to reduce the 'dumping' of cheap steel in Europe.05 Aug 2016

The duties are to be imposed on cold rolled steel, which is used in packaging, white goods, and automotive, construction and general industries.

The Commission began an investigation into the imports in May 2015 following a complaint from the European Steel Association, it said.

"In the wake of the global steel overcapacity crisis, the Commission is applying the trade defence instruments to re-establish a level-playing field between EU and foreign producers," the Commission said.

The duties range from 19.7% to 22.1% for Chinese companies and from 18.7% to 36.1% for Russian companies, and will be in place for five years. They will be levied retroactively on imports registered in the two months preceding the adoption of provisional measures on 12 February 2016.

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström asked China in February to reduce the overcapacity in its steel mills. Shortly afterwards, the Commission imposed a provisional anti-dumping duty on imports on the cold rolled steel products from China and Russia.

The EU currently has over 100 trade defence measures in place, 37 of them targeting unfair imports of steel products, of which 15 are from China. Twelve more investigations concerning steel products are still ongoing, the Commission said.

Competition expert Guy Lougher of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "Given the prevailing financial difficulties in the EU’s steel sector, and the political sensitivities surrounding the sector, it would have been very surprising if the duties had not been imposed on the steel imports."

The European steel industry and unions issued a statement in November 2015 asking MEPs to create policies to bolster the European steel industry, saying that 5,000 jobs had been lost in the previous month. Since then, further job cuts have been announced by steel producers in the EU, including more than 1,000 jobs at Tata Steel plants.

Bart Samyn, deputy secretary general of IndustriAll union, has previously said that the layoffs are "the direct consequence of the regulatory burden at EU and member state levels, and in particular due to the dumping of Chinese steel on the EU market".