EU investigates China steel HDG duty circumvention

The European Commission today initiated a formal investigation into circumvention of anti-dumping duties on Chinese hot-dip galvanised (HDG) coil.

The commission said the duties, imposed in February last year, have been circumvented by the addition of thin oil coatings, or increasing content of carbon or other elements, or amending the coating. The existing duty ranges from 17.2pc to 27.9pc, depending on the mill.

Chinese imports of HDG registered 1.18mn t over the first nine months of this year, up by 16pc from 1mn t over the same period of 2018 — this is despite the imposition of the definitive steel safeguard, which has supposedly reduced the availability of Chinese material subject to anti-dumping measures, categorised under the 4A code.

Availability of 4B material, destined for the automotive sector and not subject to duties, has been protected by the commission. But China obliterated its 527,164t quota for July 2019-June 2020 on the day it opened. Import statistics show 750,676t of Chinese HDG cleared customs in July, up by 583pc from the same period last year, as traders looked to pass customs before the quota level was breached.

The commission’s review of its safeguard, implemented on 1 October, actually saw some Taric codes listed under 4B moved into the 4A portion of the safeguard to ensure availability for automakers. But this opened a theoretical loophole whereby Chinese material that was previously dumped could clear customs under the other countries portion of the 4A safeguard. Nevertheless, over 500,000t of the October-December other countries quota remains available, suggesting that nobody has exploited this to any real degree.

By Colin Richardson