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No decision yet on suspension of Chinese aluminum import duty: EU official


Primary metals prices at 13-year highs

Definitive measures, if any, due by Oct. 11

  • Author
  • Diana Kinch
  • Editor
  • Adithya Ram
  • Commodity
  • Coal Electric Power Metals

No final decision has been taken on whether the European Commission would suspend the imposition of definitive anti-dumping duties on imports into the EU of Chinese flat-rolled aluminum products, an EU official told S&P Global Platts Sept. 13.

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"The anti-dumping investigation on imports of aluminum flat-rolled products originating in China initiated on Aug. 14, 2020 is still ongoing. Definitive measures, if any, must be imposed by Oct. 11," the official said in an emailed statement.

However, in the context of this investigation, "a request for the suspension of any measure, triggered by several stakeholders and based on substantiated information on the most recent market developments beyond the period covered by the anti-dumping investigation, is also under consideration and Member States are being consulted," the official added.

A fact finding exercise related to such a request was initiated in July, the official added.

EU producers' association European Aluminium issued a statement Sept. 10 saying that the European aluminum industry "is very determined to pursue all avenues to challenge the proposed suspension because it is fundamentally unwarranted and contradictory to the Commission's trade and climate ambitions."

The carbon footprint of Europe's primary aluminum production is one of the lowest globally, approximately 7kg of CO2 per kg of aluminum compared with the Chinese average of 20kg of CO2 per kg, according to the association's findings.

The association argued in the statement that there is no risk of shortage of aluminum in the EU market, a position not entirely shared by EC observers. LME cash aluminum prices continued at a 13-year high on Sept. 13, hitting as high as $2,949/mt in early trading. This was partly due to curbs on Chinese production to curb pollution, which is understood to have resulted in lower aluminum products exports from the Asian giant.

Imports of Chinese flat rolled aluminum products into the EU rose from 100,000 mt in 2017 to over 200,000 mt in 2019, taking a market share of 9% in a three-year period, according to European Aluminium data. However, the levels of imports from China fell off significantly following initiation of the trade case, according to the trade case documentation.

EC sources told Platts that they considered that a temporary shortage of supply in the EU market of aluminum products could slow down the EU's recovery.

"Anti-dumping duties do not prohibit exports, but make sure that exports can access the EU market at fair prices," the sources said, adding that some aluminum imported from China is used by the downstream industry to equip electric cars, which are contributing to reaching the green deal's objectives.