* EU impose up to 20.6 percent duties on Chinese wheels
* Says dumped wheels harm EU manufacturers
* Extends definitive duties on steel ropes
(Adds details, background, extend duties on steel ropes)
By Bate Felix
BRUSSELS, May 11 The European Union has imposed
provisional anti-dumping duties of up to 20.6 percent on imports
of aluminium vehicle wheels from China after a complaint of
unfair competition from European manufacturers.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation
EU, said on Tuesday an investigation had revealed imports of
Chinese aluminium wheels, used by car makers such as Renault
(RENA.PA) and BMW (BMWG.DE), harmed European producers.
It said EU manufacturers had suffered a significant decrease
in production and sales, and a loss of market share, as well as
price depression due to cheaper imports from China.
"A provisional anti-dumping duty is hereby imposed on
imports of aluminium road wheels ... originating in the People's
Republic of China," the Commission said in the EU's official
The Commission said imports of Chinese wheels had increased
by 66 percent, from 3.7 million units in 2006 to 6.1 million
units by June 2009, and its market share had nearly doubled from
6.3 percent in 2006 to 12.4 percent in 2009.
China's Ministry of Commerce denied the dumping charges when
EU trade regulators launched the investigation in August last
year, and said the investigation was not in line with World
Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
Chinese officials had warned the investigation and duties
imposed could raise the cost of repairs for customers, slow the
recovery of the European auto sector and hurt the interests of
both China and Europe.
In another decision on Tuesday, the EU executive extended
punitive tariffs of up to 60.4 percent on Chinese steel ropes
and cables that are shipped through South Korea to evade EU
The decisions could spark another round of retaliatory
measures from Chinese authorities in the growing spat between
two of the world's largest trading powers.
Last month, Beijing launched an anti-dumping investigation
into a type of optical fibre imported from the United States and
European Union, and last December, imposed anti-dumping duties
of up to 24.6 percent on imports of steels fasteners from
The European Union, with a population of 500 million people
and a gross domestic product in 2009 of more than 12 trillion
euros, is the world's largest trading bloc by value.
(Editing by Dan Lalor and Andrew Macdonald)