EU seeks WTO ruling on Chinese steel pipe duties

A labourer moves a steel pipe at a residential construction site in Fuzhou, Fujian province, July 4, 2013. The European Union, fresh from solving one major trade dispute with China, has called for the World Trade Organisation to rule on another over
A labourer moves a steel pipe at a residential construction site in Fuzhou, Fujian province, July 4, 2013. The European Union, fresh from solving one major trade dispute with China, has called for the World Trade Organisation to rule on another over Chinese anti-dumping duties on imports of EU steel pipes, after talks with Beijing failed. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European Union, fresh from solving one major trade dispute with China, has called for the World Trade Organisation to rule on another over Chinese anti-dumping duties on imports of EU steel pipes, after talks with Beijing failed.

The EU, which had sought consultations with China through the WTO in June, reiterated its charge that the duties were incompatible with WTO rules.

"The EU continues its fight against unjustified Chinese trade defence measures which do not comply with WTO rules and often seem to be motivated by retaliation," the office of EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement.

"We are confident that the WTO will support our claims against these anti-dumping duties" it added.

The two sides have been locked in a series of trade disputes but Mr De Gucht had said that an "amicable" deal last month over EU anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese solar panels could help resolve others.

"We will need such a constructive approach between China and the EU ... for other cases affecting our trade," he said then.

"I sincerely hope that the solution we found in the solar panels case will set the tone for these discussions."

The two sides are major global trading powers and partners, with bilateral trade worth some US$550 billion (S$699.64 billion) last year.

The EU's June 13 approach to the WTO over the steel pipes was the first formal step in the body's complaint procedure, followed by consultations over 60 days after which Brussels had the option to ask for a panel of experts to rule on the case.

The EU said at the time that the anti-dumping tariffs levied at 9.7 per cent to 11.1 per cent were "significantly hampering access to the Chinese market."

Beijing, in addition to taking measures on steel tubes, launched anti-dumping action against its imports of EU wine and chemicals after the EU imposed punitive tariffs on Chinese solar panels and threatened an investigation into China's key telecom equipment firms.