Aluminum extrusions from China are currently subject to anti-dumping duties in the U.S., Canada, Australia and, for a more unique reason of its own, Vietnam, Aluminium Insider reported.
But despite repeated complaints from the industry and industry bodies like European Aluminium, the European Union has done no more than require a surveillance license system to report and monitor imports of aluminum into the E.U.
In a move many consider overdue, the European Commission has now opened a probe into whether Chinese exporters of aluminum bars, rods, profiles, tubes and pipes sold them in the E.U. below cost, Bloomberg reported Friday.
The investigation will determine whether these goods from China are “being dumped and whether the dumped imports have caused injury to the union industry,” the commission, the E.U.’s executive arm in Brussels, said on Friday, as quoted by Bloomberg.
The inquiry is based on a Jan. 3 dumping complaint by European Aluminium on behalf of seven manufacturers that account for more than a quarter of the E.U.’s output of aluminum extrusions; however, no companies were named.
Chinese exports to the E.U. have more than doubled in the past five years, particularly extrusions, and are widely seen as the escape valve for China’s excess production.
According to Aluminium Insider, the OECD recently said Chinese producers are recipients of vast amounts of state subsidies, which stimulate them to increase production and offer products below production costs on the international market. According to the report, global aluminum companies have received up to U.S. $70 billion in different forms of support over the 2013-2017 period. Notably, 85% of the documented subsidies went to just five Chinese firms.
Under E.U. rules, the commission has eight months to decide whether to impose provisional anti-dumping duties against China and 14 months from last week’s publication of the notice to decide whether to hit the country with “definitive” levies, which usually last for five years.
These provisional measures, however, may be imposed normally not later than seven months, but in any event not later than eight months, from the publication date. As such, we could see the E.U. applying provisional anti-dumping duties on Chinese extrusions as early as September this year.
They already have some 18-24 months of import data at the per-transaction level — via the surveillance licensing system the E.U. has been running — on which to base their deliberations.