The EU will start dispute proceedings with China at the World Trade Organization (WTO), it announced on Thursday June 13.

The EU will seek to challenge Chinese anti-dumping duties imposed on Europe-made imports of high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes.

The government of Japan has already launched a WTO dispute with China over anti-dumping duties levied on similar steel products made in Japan.

As a first step, the EU will stage formal talks with China.

If these fail to resolve the problem, the EU can ask for a WTO disputes panel to rule on whether the Chinese duties breach global trade treaties.

Brussels claimed that the Chinese tariffs break the WTO’s anti-dumping agreement and the general agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT).

The duties, imposed last November, range from 9.7% to 11.1% and are “significantly hampering access to the Chinese market”, the European Commission said.

A Commission note added these tubes “are used mainly in superheaters and reheaters of supercritical or ultra-supercritical boilers in power stations”.

The WTO agreed on May 24 to create a panel to rule on Japan’s dispute.

Keith Nuthall