EC slaps definitive AD duties up to 77.9% on chromium-coated steel from China, Brazil

The European Commission has imposed definitive anti-dumping duties of 30.7%-77.9% on imports of electrolytic chromium coated steel originating in China and Brazil, effective Nov. 16, according to a statement of the same date.

An investigation found that Chinese and Brazilian imports were being dumped on the EU market and were injurious to the EU industry, the EC said. The EU market share of the countries concerned for this product increased from 13.1% in 2018 to 15.4% in the investigation period, the EC said in a document.

Definitive dumping margins are expressed as a percentage of the cost, insurance and freight Union frontier price, duty unpaid.

The Commission will now impose duties ranging from Eur239 per mt to Eur607 per mt of ECCS imported, to defend the EU industry, which employs almost 1,000 people across France, Germany, Spain and Italy, from further injury from dumped imports, it said.

The products concerned are flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, plated or coated with chromium oxides or with chromium and chromium oxides originating in the China and Brazil, currently falling under CN codes 7210 50 00 and 7212 50 20, the EC said.

Imposition of the definitive duties had been widely expected after the EC announced in late May it was imposing provisional AD duty rates of 25% on the ECCS imported from China and Brazil after an investigation found that imports from the two countries undercut the EU industry’s prices.

Definitive anti-dumping duties of 30.7% will now be imposed on ECCS made by China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel Co.; of 53.9% on the product made by Handan Jintai Packing Material Co.; of 34.6% on product supplied by cooperating Chinese companies including GDH Zhongyue (Zhongshan) Tinplate Industry Co.; and Shougang Jingtang United Iron & Steel Co.; and of 77.9% on product supplied by all other Chinese companies.

Product from Brazil’s Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN) will gain a definitive anti-dumping duty of 53.2%, the same as all other Brazilian companies.

The EC started its AD investigation into the imports on Sept. 24, 2021, following a complaint lodged by European Steel Association Eurofer, on behalf of ArcelorMittal Atlantique et Lorraine (France), ArcelorMittal Etxebarri (Spain); ThyssenKrupp Rasselstein (Germany) and Acciaierie d’Italia, representing some 85-95% of the production and sales of this product in the EU steel industry.

ECCS is used in a wide range of applications, typically for consumer and industrial packaging. It is most frequently used for food packaging but also as protective material for optical fiber protection or other electrical and electronic parts. The value of the EU ECCS market is almost Eur500 million.

The EC said the measures “underline the EU’s determination to use trade defence instruments fully to protect the EU ECCS industry from unfair trade practices which jeopardize its competitiveness.”

China, users, point to market changes

The EC further said that it had disagreed with statements received during the investigation from China and the China Iron and Steel Association CISA. These had argued that the EC’s report on the subject was “factually and legally flawed….misrepresentative, one-sided and out of touch with reality”, as well as “outdated”.

“Moreover, the fact that the Commission has issued country reports for a few selected countries raises concerns about most favoured nation (‘MFN’) treatment,” the Chinese government said in one statement.

S&P Global Commodity Insights has recently reported that overall exports of Brazilian steel products to Europe jumped 710% in the first half of 2022 to 909,828 mt, compared to 112,221 mt in H1 2021, filling the void left by regional suppliers Russia and Ukraine, according to data from national steel association Aço Brasil.

The EC document also noted that after final disclosure, CISA reiterated its claim that the Commission should assess the alleged high profitability achieved by ArcelorMittal and Thyssenkrupp after the investigation period. Furthermore, CISA as well as CANPACK, an EU-based user of the imported product, argued that the import prices from China and Brazil increased significantly after the investigation period and that this should be taken into account by the Commission.

However, the EC countered that “The market outlooks, price developments of imports as well as the alleged profitability of the Union producers achieved after the end of the investigation period referred to by CISA and CANPACK are irrelevant for the assessment of the injury suffered by the Union industry during the investigation period.”

The EC noted that following final disclosure of the case, Brazil’s CSN offered a price undertaking on September 13. Since that offer was received well after the deadline set by Article 8 of the basic Regulation, the Commission rejected it, it said.

— Diana Kinch