EU sets import duties on Chinese corrosion-resistant steel

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has set import duties on Chinese corrosion-resistant steel to counter what it says are unfairly low prices, the latest in a series of measures against Chinese products and steel in particular.

FILE PHOTO: A worker helps load steel bars onto a truck at warehouse in Tangshan in China's Hebei Province August 3, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo

The duties will range from 17.2 to 27.9 percent, very similar to the tariffs already set on a provisional basis in August, the EU official journal said on Thursday.

The duties on the product, used in construction, for mechanical engineering, in welded pipes and tubes and domestic appliances, will apply for five years.

The provisional rates were from 17.2 to 28.5 percent.

The European Commission, which is responsible for trade policy in the European Union, opened an investigation in December 2016 following a complaint from EU steelmakers’ association Eurofer.

The EU now has 53 sets of measures in place on steel and iron products, 27 of them on products coming from China.

China’s Commerce Ministry said it was very dissatisfied with the imposition of duties and that they were inflated. The solution to sector issues, such as overcapacity, was joint action of all countries, not unilateral measures, it said.

China’s share of the EU market in corrosion resistant steel rose from 10 percent in 2013 to around 20 percent in 2016 and Chinese prices fell by more than the decline in raw material costs, the EU journal said. The value of the EU market is around 4.6 billion euros ($5.6 billion) a year.

Companies of China's HBIS group, including Hesteel Co Ltd 000709.SZ, will face duties of 27.8 percent, steelmakers of the Shagan Group duties of 27.9 percent and those of the Shougang Group 17.2 percent.

EU producers are concentrated in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Poland.($1 = 0.8173 euros)

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, additional reporting by Josephine Mason in Beijing; Editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Susan Fenton