January 15, 2009 / 3:43 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-EU body OKs 25 pct dumping duty on China steel rods

(Adds details, background)

By Darren Ennis

BRUSSELS, Jan 15 (Reuters) - A key European Union trade panel voted in favour on Thursday of imposing temporary antidumping duties of 25 percent on imports of Chinese-made steel wire rods, EU sources familiar with the case said.

“The vote was in favour of the duties,” one source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

European steel producers requested the additional tariffs on the rods, used among other things to reinforce tyres and concrete. They had complained that Chinese exporters enjoyed an unfair advantage because suspected subsidies in China’s steel industry gave them cheap raw material.

The duties — which are likely further to damage already brittle trade and diplomatic ties between Brussels and Beijing — will come into force next month and remain in place for six months.

The European Commission, which oversees EU trade policy, must then decide whether to propose “definitive duties” lasting at least five years. EU trade ministers must approve any such move for it to take effect.

Trade disputes between Brussels and Beijing are on the rise since the EU’s trade deficit with China has ballooned, hitting 160 billion euros ($210 billion) last year.

In December, the EU’s antidumping committee voted to adopt import duties of up to 87 percent on screws and bolts from China.

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