EU Widens Investigations Into Chinese Imports, Subsidies

The European Union has widened its investigations into Chinese goods, focusing on imports and subsidies paid to Chinese manufacturers.

Reuters reported that the European Union this week launched an investigation into flat-rolled iron or steel products plated or coated with tin from China, in a latest effort to protect home-grown manufacturers.

It comes after the United States, as expected, this week imposed 100 percent tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs). The US also set tariffs of varying amounts on Chinese-made semiconductors, steel and aluminium, batteries, solar cells, medical equipment and ship-to-shore cranes.

Subsidies, dumping

The European Union’s investigation into Chinese tinplate iron or steel products joins a number of other ongoing investigations into Chinese goods, Reuters noted.

The EU has also launched several probes into whether Chinese clean tech producers are dumping subsidised goods on EU markets and whether Chinese-owned companies unfairly benefit from subsidies while operating inside the European Union.

The European Commission, which is carrying out the investigations, says its aim is to prevent unfair competition and market distortion.

The move comes amid a growing trade war between the West and China,

Current EU investigations

The current state of EU investigations into Chinese goods are as follows:

  • Tinplate steel: The European Commission anti-dumping investigation of tinplate steel opened on 16 May, following a complaint from European steel association Eurofer. This investigation is to be concluded within 14 months, with the possible imposition of provisional duties in seven to eight months.
  • Wood flooring imports: This EC anti-dumping investigation also began on 16 May, after a complaint by the European Parquet Federation.
  • Medical devices: The European Commission launched a probe into Chinese public procurement of medical devices on 24 April and will probe whether European suppliers have fair access to the Chinese market. If not it could place restrictions on Chinese medical device companies bidding in EU public tenders. This investigation is to be concluded within nine months, although it could extend this period by a further five months.
  • Wind turbines: EU began on 19 April investigating subsidies received by Chinese suppliers of wind turbines destined for Europe. The probe will look into wind park development in Spain, Greece, France, Romania and Bulgaria.
  • Solar panels: this EC investigation into Chinese bidders in a public tender for a solar park in Romania, but on 13 May officials said it would close after two Chinese-related companies withdrew from the process. Two investigations had begun on 3 April, examining whether the Chinese participants benefited excessively from subsidies in bidding for a contract.
  • Electric vehicles (EVs): This EC investigation began in October 2023, and will last 13 months. The Commission’s anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles will determine whether to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese EVs, and seeks to determine if Chinese exports of EVs to the EU market are benefiting from excessive subsidies. The Commission can impose provisional anti-subsidy duties nine months after the start of the probe.
Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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