The EU has accused China of imposing unfair import duties on high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes

EU asks WTO to rule in steel tubes dispute with China

The EU has asked the World Trade Organisation to rule in trade dispute over high-performance steel tubes with China.

The EU lodged a complaint at the WTO over the anti-dumping duties on imports of high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes from the EU in June and consultations were held in July.

But they did not resolve the dispute and the EU is now asking the WTO to set up a panel to rule on the case.

The case is one of a series of high-profile trade disputes that have broken out between China and the 28-nation EU, led by a quarrel over alleged dumping of Chinese solar panels in Europe that was defused at the end of last month.

"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," EU trade spokesman John Clancy said in a statement on today.

EU exports to China of high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes, used in power plants, were worth around €90m (£77m) in 2009, but fell to under €20m around the time that China imposed definitive anti-dumping duties in November 2012, the EU says.

Since then, it said the duties of 9.7 per cent to 11.1 per cent imposed on imports of steel tubes from the EU were significantly hampering access to the Chinese market.

China is involved in a separate dispute over high-performance steel tubes with Mexico, who approved anti-dumping tariffs on made tubes in June following complaints from local manufacturers  that Chinese manufacturers were flooding Mexican markets with cut-price products.

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