Steel Pipe - Photo by Hebei

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The European Union (EU) ordered its customs officials to register flat-rolled stainless steel imports from Indonesia, China, and Taiwan, widening the threat of tariffs on the shipments, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, said on Tuesday (02/04) in the Official Journal.

The Commission has announced in Regulations 2020/104 and 2020/105, and take effect from 25 January 2020. Customs authorities will register imports for a period of 9 months from 25 January 2020. Registration allows the Commission, at the end of the current investigations, to backdate anti-dumping and countervailing duties, if appropriate, to imports during this nine-month period.

“Interested parties are invited to make their views known to the Commission in writing, to provide supporting evidence or request to be heard within 21 days,” the Commission said.

Products affected include stainless steel flat-rolled products, whether or not in coils, including products cut-to-length and narrow strip, not further worked than hot-rolled. While the products excluded are not in coils, of a width of 600mm or more and of a thickness exceeding 10mm, the Commission detailed.

The step is part of an inquiry into whether Indonesia, Chinese, and Taiwanese producers of hot-rolled, stainless steel sheets and coils sold them in the EU below cost, a practice known as dumping. The move also covers a parallel EU probe of alleged trade-distorting subsidies to the manufacturers in Indonesia and China.

Registration allows the EU to impose possible tariffs on past transactions. Levies against below-cost imports are known as anti-dumping duties, while import taxes in response to subsidies are called countervailing duties.

The shipments from Indonesia, China, and Taiwan and will “be made subject to registration for the purpose of ensuring that, should the investigation result in findings leading to the imposition of anti-dumping and/or countervailing duties, those duties can, if the necessary conditions are fulfilled, be levied retroactively on the registered imports,” the Commission said.

Hot-rolled, stainless-steel sheets and coils are used for other kinds of steel and for tubes. EU imports of the product from around the world were worth almost €900 million (US$994 million) in 2018, according to the European industry group Eurofer, which filed complaints last year that led to the Commission’s dumping and subsidy investigations against Indonesia, China, and Taiwan.

The Commission must decide by April 12 whether to introduce provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of this steel from the three countries and by Oct. 12 whether to impose “definitive” five-year levies. In the subsidy case against China and Indonesia, the commission must decide by July 10 on any provisional duties and by mid-November on any definitive levies.

€1=US$1.10

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com