August 10, 2017 / 9:50 AM / 7 days ago

EU imposes import duties on some Chinese steel to counter subsidies

A labourer carries bars of steel at a construction site in Beijing, China July 20, 2017. Picture taken July 20, 2017.Jason Lee/Files

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has imposed provisional import duties of as much as 28.5 percent on certain Chinese corrosion-resistant steels after an eight-month investigation found that the products benefited from unfair subsidies.

The Aug. 9 decision by the European Commission followed a complaint by steel association Eurofer whose members include ArcelorMittal, ThyssenKrupp and Tata Steel Europe .

Imports of Chinese coated, corrosion resistant steel have surged 45 percent this year and make up 51 percent of total EU imports of the product, according to data cited by investment bank Jefferies.

"With Voestalpine, Thyssenkrupp and ArcelorMittal leading exposure to galvanised (corrosion resistant) steel, today's news is a positive catalyst for boosting domestic market share and margins," Jefferies analysts said.

The EU has hit China, which produces half the world's steel, with anti-dumping duties on various steel products in recent years after EU companies cited illegal subsidies.

The EU executive body said anti-dumping duties were necessary to help producers in at least 15 EU countries, according to an announcement published in the bloc's Official Journal on Wednesday.

"It was provisionally concluded that the imposition of measures would contribute to the recovery of the Union industry by allowing price increases enabling the industry as a whole to return to a profitable situation," the Commission said in a statement.

The EU import duties, ranging from 17.2 percent to 28.5 percent, will affect Hesteel Group, Shougang Group, Shagang Group and several other companies.

The companies can challenge the EU decision at a hearing within 25 days.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, additional reporting by Maytaal Angel; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Jason Neely

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