* European Commission imposes anti-dumping duties
* China sells ready to discuss with EU
* EU, EU steel body says duties are fair
(Adds EU comment, industry comment)
By Josephine Mason and Foo Yun Chee
BEIJING/BRUSSELS, Feb 28 China expressed
concerns on Tuesday over what it said was increasing
protectionism after European Union regulators imposed new duties
on steel imports from the world's biggest producer.
The European Commission is seeking to protect EU steelmakers
while avoiding tensions with Beijing, which it sees as a
possible ally against protectionism and climate change.
It imposed definitive anti-dumping duties of between 65.1
percent and 73.7 percent on imports of heavy plate non-alloy or
other alloy steel from China on Tuesday, confirming provisional
tariffs set in October.
This prompted a statement from China's Commerce Ministry
calling on Europe to treat Chinese companies "fairly and
impartially", adding it was ready to strengthen communication
with the EU to tackle issues in the industry.
The companies named in the Commission's ruling included
Nanjing Iron & Steel Co Ltd, Minmetals Yingkou
Medium Plate Co Ltd, Wuyang Iron and Steel Co Ltd and
Wuyang New Heavy & Wide Steel Plate Co Ltd.
The EU executive said it acted after an investigation found
found Chinese companies to be heavily dumping their products on
the EU market by selling them at well below half of the price on
the producers' home market.
"The Commission has responded forcefully and quickly to
unfair competition, while at the same time ensuring that the
rights of all interested parties have been protected," the
Commission said in a statement.
Eurofer, which represents the European steel sector, said
the Commission had found clear evidence of dumping.
"Tens of thousands of steel jobs have been lost in Europe
over the past few years, and dumping, particularly demonstrably
from China, has been one of the causes," it said in a statement.
The EU has strengthened its policy against what it considers
unfair competition for its steel industry, and said its new
approach had allowed it to decide on trade sanctions more
quickly than in the past.
It said on Tuesday it has 41 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy
measures in place, 18 of which are on products from China.
Also on Tuesday, Europe's second highest court backed
anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties imposed by the EU nearly
four years ago on imports of Chinese solar panels.
(Additional reporting and writing by Barbara Lewis in London;
Editing by Jason Neely, Greg Mahlich and Alexander Smith)