Trade group European Aluminium Association said this week that the European government intends on imposing import duties on aluminium shipped in from the People’s Republic of China next month, but will ultimately suspend those import duties for nine months.
The European Commission’s investigation into Chinese aluminium imports determined that the Middle Kingdom flooded the continent’s market with artificially low aluminium in August of last year. As a result, the Commission determined in April that provisional duties on future imports be between 19.3 percent and 46.7 percent, depending upon the product.
Typically such duties would run for a period of five years from October. However, according to European Aluminium, complaints from three parties, including two importers, resulted in the European Commission suspending those duties for nine months.
The move prompted European Aluminium’s director Gerd Goetz to point out the mixed signals and the disruption to the market that such a move causes.
“How can European industries trust in the urgently needed trade enforcement measures when the flood gates for high-carbon, dumped Chinese products stay so willingly open?”
The European Commission’s investigation is not yet complete, and the body said definitive measures would be announced by mid-October. The EC acknowledged receiving a request to suspend punitive measures, but it said it had not yet decided whether or not to grant such relief.
European Aluminium urged the Commission not to go through with the waiver.
“The European aluminium industry is determined to pursue all avenues to challenge the proposed suspension because it’s fundamentally unwarranted and contradictory to the Commission’s trade and climate ambitions. We request the Commission not to suspend the definitive measures due for October 2021 and offer our support for an urgently needed in-depth and balanced investigation.”
The request for relief cited the vastly changed market for aluminium since last year. Such requests are granted only infrequently, with the last such request granted eleven years ago.