The European Commission has confirmed it will launch an investigation into imports of “certain corrosion resistant steels” from China, more commonly referred to as hot dip galvanized sheet.
The investigation had long been expected in the market, with S&P Global Platts reporting in October sources close to discussions anticipated an imminent probe. In a filing in the European Union official journal Friday, it appears the EC received a complaint on October 25 from Eurofer (the European steel association) on behalf of eight domestic mills.
Imports of coated coils into the European Union rose 49.8% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2016 to 3.42 million metric tons, with Chinese material jumping 86.9% to 1.71 million mt in that time, according to figures published on the Eurofer website.
However, many traders and service centre buyers said the duty was not warranted as Chinese producers typically serve the thinner end of the market, where Europeans are not so active.
Typically Chinese material is around 0.4-0.5mm in thickness, for use in sectors such as construction; whereas European producers tailor output towards the thicker, 2mm, end where demand from the automotive sector is particularly strong and margins are higher. Many argue the measures could result in shortages in certain grades.
The investigation of injury will cover the period October 1 2015 to September 30 2016 and will be concluded within 15 months. Provisional measures may be imposed no later than nine months, although in the recent investigation into Chinese plate and HRC, the EC announced preliminary measures five weeks ahead of schedule.
The specification of the investigations exclude stainless or silicon-electrical steel, limited to flat-rolled products of iron or alloy steel or non-alloy steel; aluminum killed; plated or coated by hot dip galvanization with zinc and/or with aluminum, and no other metal; presented in coils, cut-to-length sheets and narrow strips.
The announcement marks the near completion of trade investigations for Chinese flat products with anti-dumping measures already in place for HRC, CRC and plate.
Peter Brennan, PLATTS