EU probes into Chinese subsidies and imports

EU probes into Chinese subsidies and imports

The European Union launched an investigation into flat-rolled iron or steel products plated or coated with tin from China in the latest effort to protect home-grown manufacturers.

It has also launched several probes into whether Chinese clean tech producers are dumping subsidised goods on EU markets and whether Chinese-owned companies unfairly benefit from subsidies while operating inside the European Union.

The European Commission, which is carrying out the investigations, says its aim is to prevent unfair competition and market distortion.

Here’s what you need to know about the investigations:

Tinplate steel

The European Commission opened on May 16 an anti-dumping investigation into flat-rolled products of iron or steel plated or coated with Chinese tin.

The EU’s official journal said the investigation follows a complaint from European steel association Eurofer.

The investigation is to be concluded within 14 months, with the possible imposition of provisional duties in seven to eight months.

Wood flooring imports

The European Commission initiated on May 16 an anti-dumping investigation into wood flooring imports, following a complaint by the European Parquet Federation.

Under investigation are assembled multilayered wood flooring panels. Panels of bamboo, or with at least the top layer of bamboo, are excluded as are panels for mosaic floors.

Medical devices

The European Commission launched a probe into Chinese public procurement of medical devices, the EU’s official journal said on April 24.

The investigation is the first under the EU International Procurement Instrument, which aims to prevent countries from unfairly favouring domestic suppliers.

If the Commission finds that European suppliers don’t have fair access to the Chinese market, it could place restrictions on Chinese medical device companies bidding in EU public tenders.

The investigation is to be concluded within nine months, although the Commission can extend this period by a further five months.

Wind turbines

The EU is investigating subsidies received by Chinese suppliers of wind turbines destined for Europe, the bloc’s anti-trust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on April 9.

It will look into wind park development in Spain, Greece, France, Romania and Bulgaria, Vestager said without naming specific companies.

China said the probe was “discriminatory” against Chinese enterprises and endorsed protectionism.

Solar panels

The European Commission will close its investigation into Chinese bidders in a public tender for a solar park in Romania after the companies withdrew from the process, European Industry Commission Thierry Breton said on May 13.

It launched two investigations on April 3 into whether the Chinese participants benefited excessively from subsidies in bidding for a contract.

It first investigated a consortium comprising Romania’s ENEVO Group and a subsidiary of China’s LONGi Green Energy Technology Co. The second consortium investigated comprised subsidiaries of Chinese state-owned Shanghai Electric Group Co..

Breton said that the Commission took note of the withdrawal of LONGi Solar and Shanghai Electric from bidding and would therefore close its investigation.

Electric vehicles

The Commission said on September 13, 2023 that it would launch an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles to determine whether to impose punitive tariffs on them.

It wants to find out if Chinese exports of EVs to the EU market are benefiting from excessive subsidies.

China’s commerce minister Wang Wentao said in April that U.S. and European assertions of excess Chinese EV capacity were baseless, while a Chinese industry body said the probe was stacked against Chinese manufacturers.

The investigation, officially launched on October 4, will last up to 13 months. The Commission can impose provisional anti-subsidy duties nine months after the start of the probe. [Reuters]

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