EU retains aluminium wheel duties – China feels unfairly blamed

The European Commission has chosen to maintain the 22.3 per cent anti-dumping duty applied to aluminium wheels imported from the Peoples’ Republic of China, a decision that has been criticised by Chinese authorities.

The duty applies to original equipment and aftermarket wheels currently falling within CN code(s) ex 8708 70 10 and ex 8708 70 50 (TARIC codes 8708 70 10 10 and 8708 70 50 10). The 22.3 per cent duty has been levied since 2010 under Regulation (EU) No 964/2010.

The European Commission instigated a review of the anti-dumping duty prior to its expiry after receiving a request from the Association of European Wheel Manufacturers (EUWA), an organisation representing companies whose production accounts for more than 25 per cent of the European Union total for certain aluminium wheel types. The EUWA based its request upon the assertion that allowing the duties to expire would likely result in product dumping in European markets.

As the European Commission found “no compelling reasons” not to maintain the existing measures, duties of 22.3 per cent upon the net, free-at-Union-frontier price of these products will continue to be applied for a further five years according to Regulation (EU) 2017/109. The Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 24 January and entered into force the following day.

In response to the European Commission’s decision to maintain anti-dumping duties, a representative of China’s Ministry of Commerce accused the European Union of overprotecting manufacturers within the region. Wang Hejun, director of the ministry’s trade remedy and investigation bureau, said Chinese companies were being unfairly blamed for the European manufacturers’ inability to compete; the true culprit, he opines, is the global economic downturn.

Wang asserts that in addition to hurting Chinese companies, the duties’ extension will also disadvantage the European automotive industry and consumers, and is a measure opposed by European automotive industry associations. Indeed, a number of European vehicle manufacturers, including BMW, Renault, Peugeot, had called for the European Union to retire its anti-dumping duties on aluminium wheels from China.

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