While the USA has announced punitive anti-dumping tariffs on cold rolled coil from China, the EU has adopted a softer line, much to the dismay of EUROFER, the European Steel Association.

Chinese exporters of cold rolled coil to the USA can expect to pay an anti-dumping duty of 265.79%, but if that same exporter packed off a consignment of cold rolled flat steel to the European Union it would only pay an anti-dumping tariff of between 13% and 16%.

It’s a situation that has angered EUROFER.

“The high preliminary tariff set by the US demonstrates that the administration takes seriously the need to re-establish a level playing field for its domestic steel industry,” said Axel Eggert, director-general of EUROFER.

In contrast to the US, claims Eggert, the EU continues to apply the Lesser Duty Rule in its anti-dumping methodology. “This cuts down the applicable anti-dumping tariff to a level that does not even address the injury to the industry,” he said, which doesn’t deter dumping.

EUROFER claims that no other major trading partner applies the Lesser Duty Rule (LDR) as judiciously as the EU – and its use is not a World Trade Organisation obligation.

According to EUROFER, the LDR requires that the EU calculates a ‘dumping margin’ and an ‘injury margin’ and subsequently applies the lowest of these as a duty. In applying the LDR, the provisional measure for China was based on the calculated injury margin of 60%.

“The US vigorously re-establishes a level playing field for its domestic steel industry against massive Chinese dumping with anti-dumping tariffs of 265.79%. Meanwhile, the EU again proves its inability to defend its strategic sectors, with tariffs as low as 13% for identical products,” Eggert fumed.

He argued that such low tariffs do not sufficiently capture the injury suffered by the European steel industry, making continued application of the LDR unnecessarily damaging.

Crucially, Eggert argues that ‘continued member state opposition to the lifting of the LDR demonstrates that many EU governments are neglecting the impact it is having on jobs and industry within the EU.