China and Japan appeal WTO panel findings on stainless tube duties

China and Japan have both separately appealed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over a recent panel finding against Chinese anti-dumping duties for stainless steel tube imports.

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Both notices of appeal were filed to the WTO Appellate Body on Wednesday May 20, the WTO said.

Published in February, the WTO dispute panel accepted most of the claims presented by Europe and Japan against definitive anti-dumping duties imposed by China in 2012 on imports of high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes, which are mainly used in power stations.

In practical terms, the panel declared the duties “illegal” in the light of WTO regulations, the European Commission said at the time. 

Japan’s ministry of economy, trade & industry (Meti) said its appeal was related to some Japanese claims that were not accepted in the February report.

“The report recognized that China’s imposition of anti-dumping duties was inconsistent with the WTO Anti-Dumping Agreement and recommended that China bring its measures into conformity with that agreement, but Japan’s claims on some issues were not accepted,” Meti said on Wednesday.

The rejected claims include requests that China should examine the actual effect of the alleged dumped imports on its domestic prices, as well as the relationship between the alleged dumped imports and the state of its domestic industry.

“In principle, the report of the WTO Appellate Body is to be circulated to WTO members within 60 days, with an absolute maximum of 90 days, and the Dispute Settlement Body is to adopt the report within 30 days of its circulation,” Meti said.

However, Meti said the period of examination by the WTO Appellate Body “tends to be prolonged”, which means “it is possible that it will take more than 90 days for the WTO Appellate Body to circulate its report”.

China’s ministry of commerce (Mofcom) had not issued any statement on the matter at the time of writing.

A source at one stainless steel pipe producer in China’s Shanxi province told Steel First that the imported volumes for those pipes was very small.

If the duties are removed, the Chinese market will not be significantly affected, he said.

Veronica Qin in Shanghai contributed to this article.