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EU launches antidumping probe into Chinese aluminum flat rolled products

New York — The European Commission has launched an antidumping investigation into aluminum flat-rolled products originating from China, it said Aug. 14.

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The decision comes in response to a complaint lodged on June 30 by industry group European Aluminium on behalf of producers representing more than 25% of the total EU production of flat-rolled products.

The EC said sufficient evidence showed that "due to significant distortions affecting prices and costs, the use of domestic prices and costs in the country concerned is inappropriate."

The products subject to this investigation are flat rolled aluminum products, whether or not alloyed, whether or not further worked than flat rolled, of a thickness from 0.03 millimeters to more than 6 mm. The material can be delivered in the form of sheets, coils, coiled strips, circles or plates. Excluded are beverage can stock, body panels for the automotive industry and aluminum used in the manufacture of aircraft parts.

European Aluminium welcomed the move and urged the "Commission to follow through with appropriate anti-dumping measures to minimize the harmful effects of unfairly priced Chinese imports."

"In February this year, the EU already opened an anti-dumping investigation into aluminum extrusions originating from China. With this new investigation into aluminum flat rolled products, the largest share of the aluminum imports is under scrutiny," European Aluminium Director General Gerd Goetz said.

"It's obvious that Chinese firms aren't respecting the global rules of free and fair trade and the numbers show they are dumping more and more products on our market. The volumes of excess capacity they have built up are so massive, they could replace the entire European aluminum production," he added.

The complaint provided evidence of "raw material distortions" in China, resulting in prices that are below those quoted on international markets of the same product, the EC said.

"According to the evidence in the complaint, aluminum ingots, which account for substantially more than 17 % of the cost of production of the product under investigation, are subject to an export tax of 15 % in the country concerned," it said.

The investigation of dumping and injury will cover the period from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, while the examination of trends relevant for the assessment of injury will cover the period from January 1, 2017 to the end of the investigation period.

"The EU must act decisively and rapidly to ensure the survival of the European aluminum value chain, which is critical to low carbon applications including renewable energy, batteries, electricity systems, resource-efficient packaging, energy-efficient buildings, and clean mobility," Goetz said.

According to the EC's announcement, the investigation will be concluded within normally 13, but not more than 14 months of the Aug. 14 publication of the notice.

Provisional measures, however, may be imposed normally no later than seven months, but in any event not later than eight months, from the publication date.