EU tariffs to slash steel exports
Producers urged to explore new destinations
Imposing provisional import tariffs on Chinese steel products will slash export volumes to the EU, but Chinese companies should respond to the dumping claim vigorously while looking for new export destinations, industry representatives said.
The EU announced on Friday (Belgium time) that it will impose provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of hot-rolled flat steel and heavy plates from China, a move to address unfair competition, according to a post on its website. The duties on heavy plates range from 65.1 percent to 73.7 percent, and those on hot-rolled steel range from 13.2 percent to 22.6 percent, the post showed.
The European Commission (EC) will decide within six months whether to reconfirm these measures for the coming few years.
Chinese steel companies did not export any heavy plates to the EU in August, Wang Guoqing, research director at the Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center, told the Global Times on Saturday.
Total exports of this product to the region from January to August stood at about 3,541 tons, down 61.7 percent on a year-on-year basis, she noted. "The latest statistics showed that China's exports of heavy plates to the EU have significantly decreased since the beginning of this year due to the anti-dumping investigation launched by the commission," Wang said.
The EC initiated an anti-dumping investigation into imports into the EU in February following a complaint by the European Steel Association, which represents more than 25 percent of the producers of heavy plates in the region, according to a document posted on the EU's website on Thursday.
The issue involves Chinese steel producers such as Nanjing Iron and Steel Co, Minmetals Yingkou Medium Plate Co, and Wuyang Iron and Steel Co and Wuyang New Heavy & Wide Steel Plate Co. The companies face duties of 73.1 percent, 65.1 percent and 73.7 percent, respectively, the document noted.
"We hardly export any heavy plates to the EU right now," an employee at the trade office of Minmetals Yingkou Medium Plate, who declined to be identified, told the Global Times on Saturday. He would not comment on the EU's decision on provisional tariffs.
Meanwhile, the EC launched a separate anti-dumping investigation concerning imports of hot-rolled flat products into the region from China in February, according to a separate document on the EU's website. The Chinese steel companies involved in this case include Bengang Steel Plates Co, Hebei Iron & Steel Group and Jiangsu Shagang Group. They face provisional duties of 17.1 percent, 13.2 percent and 22.6 percent, respectively.
Jiangsu Shagang did not respond to a request for comment sent by the Global Times on Saturday by press time.
Bengang Steel Plates and Hebei Iron & Steel Group could not be reached on Saturday by press time.
Many Chinese companies have shifted their strategies while facing rising pressure in overseas markets, a steel product trader in North China's Hebei Province who declined to be identified told the Global Times.
"For example, heavy plates are mainly exported for industries such as shipbuilding. But considering the declining demand and rising protectionism in Europe, more and more companies are interested in expanding their business in markets like South Korea and Southeast Asia," he said.