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EU Launches Probes Into Chinese Subsidies and Imports

Published: May 18, 2024
(Image: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 1, 2023.REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo)

In a latest effort to protect local manufacturers from Chinese product dumping, the European Union launched an investigation into flat-rolled iron and steel goods from the People’s Republic.

It has also launched several probes into whether Chinese clean tech producers are dumping subsidized goods on its markets, and whether Chinese companies unfairly benefit from subsidies while operating inside the European Union.

The European Commission says the aim of the investigation is to prevent unfair competition and market distortion.

Tinplate steel

On Thursday, May 16, the European Commission opened an anti-dumping investigation into flat-rolled products of iron or steel plated or coated with Chinese tin.

The EU’s official journal said the investigation follows a complaint from European steel association Eurofer.

The investigation is to be concluded within 14 months, with the possible imposition of provisional duties in a seven to eight months period of time.

Wood flooring imports

The same day, May 16, the EU Commission also initiated an anti-dumping investigation into wood flooring imports, following a complaint by the European Parquet Federation.

Assembled multilayered wood flooring panels are under scrutiny, while panels of bamboo, or with at least the top layer of bamboo, are excluded as are panels for mosaic floors.

Medical devices

The EU’s official journal said on April 24 that the Commission launched a probe into Chinese public procurement of medical devices.

The investigation is the first under the EU International Procurement Instrument, which aims to prevent countries from unfairly favoring domestic suppliers.

If evidence is found that European suppliers don’t have fair access to the Chinese market, it could place restrictions on Chinese medical device companies bidding in EU public tenders.

The investigation is to be concluded within nine months, although the Commission can extend this period by a further five months.

Wind turbines

Antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on April 9 the EU is investigating subsidies received by Chinese suppliers of wind turbines destined for Europe.

Vestager said the investigation will look into wind park development in Spain, Greece, France, Romania and Bulgaria, without naming specific companies.

China said the probe was “discriminatory” against Chinese enterprises. 

Solar panels

European Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton said on May 13 that the European Commission will close its investigation into Chinese bidders in a public tender for a solar park in Romania, after the companies withdrew from the process. 

On April 3 a probe was conducted to verify if  the Chinese participants benefited excessively from subsidies in bidding for a contract.

Tehy  first was a consortium comprising Romania’s ENEVO Group and a subsidiary of China’s LONGi Green Energy Technology Co, while the second comprised subsidiaries of Chinese state-owned Shanghai Electric Group Co..

Breton said that the Commission took note of the withdrawal of LONGi Solar and Shanghai Electric from bidding and would therefore close its investigation.

Electric vehicles

The Commission stated on Sept. 13, 2023 that it would launch an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles, to determine whether to impose punitive tariffs on them.

China’s commerce minister Wang Wentao said in April that U.S. and European assertions of excess Chinese EV capacity were baseless.

The investigation, officially launched on Oct. 4, will last up to 13 months. The Commission can impose provisional anti-subsidy duties nine months after the start of the probe.

Reuters contributed to this report.