Tuesday, November 27, 2007

China could face EU Steel import probe

European Union regulators will probably examine a complaint by steelmakers ArcelorMittal and ThyssenKrupp AG about cheap steel imports from China, raising the specter of punitive duties, the EU's trade chief said.

The two companies led a steelmakers lobby that last month told the European Commission cheap imports of stainless steel cold-rolled flat products from China, South Korea and Taiwan were causing ``material injury'' to European producers. The lobby, called Eurofer, also said Chinese producers were selling hot- dipped metallic coated sheet and strip steel below European prices as well as their own costs, a practice known as dumping.

``We're likely to open a probe as we're bound to do when presented with evidence of this kind,'' EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said in an interview today in Beijing. ``I'm not going to speculate on the outcome'' of the investigation or the timing of an announcement that the commission would start a 15- month probe, he added.

``It depends on whether we recommend measures and on what scale those measures would be,'' Mandelson said today. ``I will present the findings to EU member states. If we propose measures, it would be a hot debate.''

The demand by European steelmakers followed a petition in June by six North American producers including Nucor Corp. requesting U.S. duties on welded steel pipe from China. The companies argue that by selling products cheaply, China risks returning the industry to a boom-and-bust cycle that culminated in European steel prices sliding to a two-decade low in 2002.

Source Bloomberg.com: Asia


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