BEIJING – The Chinese ministry of commerce announced on Monday it would impose protectionist measures on certain stainless steel products imported from the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia.
The ministry said in a statement on its website that the measure will come into effect on Tuesday and will affect stainless steel billets and hot-rolled stainless steel.
Consequently, importers will have to pay tariffs ranging from 18.1 percent to 103.1 percent on the two products for the next five years.
China claimed this step came in response to dumping (sale below cost price) practices that have caused considerable damage to its economy.
Earlier in March, China had imposed these same anti-dumping measures in preliminary form.
Stainless steel billets and hot-rolled stainless steel are mainly used as raw material in the manufacture of cold-rolled stainless steel products or used in shipbuilding, containers, railways, energy and other industries.
China and Russia accounted for the highest trade barriers on EU exports in 2018, according to a European Commission report on barriers to trade and investment published in June 2019.
The report described China as the country with the highest number of trade barriers considered problematic by Brussels, with up to 37 restrictive measures that impede European exports and investment opportunities.
In recent years, several countries and the EU have urged Beijing to restructure its bulky steel sector – China is by far the world’s largest producer of steel – and avoid commercialization of these products at prices lower than their cost.
Currently, the EU has an unprecedented number of trade defense measures against unfair import of steel products, with a total 41 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties, 18 of which are related to items from China.