The European Steel Association (EUROFER) has today welcomed the European Commission's intention to investigate the circumvention of anti-dumping duties by Chinese exporters of metallic coated steel. This investigation, opened by the Commission itself, concerns the deliberate mislabelling of large volumes of this product from China.

“The Commission has opened the case because Chinese exporters have been making minor modifications to their products simply to avoid payable anti-dumping duties. This is cheating – avoiding EU anti-dumping tariffs which are explicitly owed. It allows Chinese exporters to continue to undercut, and cause injury to, EU steelmakers. Such practices also short-change the EU budget”, said Axel Eggert, director general of EUROFER.

This is not the only product where evidence of customs fraud has been found, claims EUROFER. National customs services recently uncovered another circumvention scheme. In this latter case, ‘quarto plate’ from China was being mislabelled as ‘slabs’. Once again this had enabled exporters to avoid the applicable duties – worth millions of euros, which customs authorities have now been directed to recover.

“EUROFER calls on the Commission to undertake the metallic coated steel investigation as a matter of priority and to extend the scope of the existing duties to stamp out this form of circumvention”, added Eggert.

The news of the opening of this investigation comes just a week after the EU launched a WTO challenge against Indonesian stainless steel raw materials restrictions and accompanying capacity-related subsidies.

Eggert concluded, “EUROFER appreciates that the Commission has taken this anti-circumvention action on its own initiative. Moreover, we welcome that it has committed to combatting fraudulent practices, reflecting its determination to enforce EU trade rules and decisions as firmly as possible”.