Nation 'strongly disputes' EU ruling on Chinese steel, use of surrogate mechanism

Updated 2017-06-12 09:32:42 Global Times

It's unfair for the EU to impose duties on imported steel products from China, an expert told the Global Times on Sunday.

The European Commission (EC) delivered a final verdict on Friday, which said that Chinese hot-rolled flat steel manufacturers had received subsidies ranging from 4.6 percent to 38.6 percent, according to China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).

The EU imposed duties of up to 35.9 percent on imported hot-rolled flat steel from China, effective Saturday.

China "strongly disputes" the legitimacy and legality of the verdict, an official from the MOFCOM said Friday.

Hot-rolled flat steel products are used in many sectors such as shipbuilding, gas containers, cars and pressure vessels.

The EC "ignored the country's development in financial reform and progress of pushing forward market-led interest rates," Wang Hejun, head of the trade remedy and investigation bureau of the MOFCOM, was quoted as saying in a statement posted on the ministry's website on Friday.

"Since 2006, the EU has launched investigations into steel products imported from China, mainly as it believes that the Chinese steel industry benefits from preferential lending to [support] steel exports at low prices, which might bring damage to businesses" in the EU, Wang Guoqing, research director at the Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"But it is totally wrong and unfair for the EU to blame China for its own problems in the steel industry," said Wang.

The EU's verdict was based on the "surrogate country" mechanism, under which the value of Chinese steel products are compared with those of a third-party country. The practice allows countries to levy high tariffs easily in trade disputes, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

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