Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Where Have You Gone, Iron Man?

Just in case you thought the cumbersome structure of the EU precluded prompt tit-for-tat in a trade war, via Reuters:

The European Union has renewed anti-dumping duties on ironing boards imported from China for a further five years, but lifted corresponding tariffs on the product from Ukraine.

The extension, announced on Tuesday, follows an appeal by three EU iron board makers against the potential ending of measures taken in 2007. They contended that Chinese producers in particular would resume dumping, selling at below cost or fair market price.

The EU market for ironing boards is worth around 100 million euros (86.0 million pounds), a tiny fraction of the 290 billion euros of goods imported from China, but the extension of measures is a further irritant to Chinese producers and the Beijing government.

EU-China trade tensions are high. The EU last month began imposing duties on imports of solar panels from China, worth 21 billion euros in 2011, prompting Beijing to launch an investigation into EU wine.

For ironing boards, Chinese producers had a 40-45 percent share of the EU market, with annual sales of some 10 million boards, but this fell to 15-20 percent in 2011 after duties were imposed.

The notice in the Europe Union's official journal on Tuesday said the Chinese were still undercutting the prices of EU makers by 20 percent.

It concluded that a repeal of anti-dumping measures would result in increased Chinese exports at dumped pricing levels.

For Ukraine, with single producer Eurogold Industries Ltd, its share of the market actually rose to 10 from 8 percent, even with duties, principally because Chinese competition eased.

Duties were originally set in 2007 at 9.9 percent for imports from Ukraine and up to 38.1 percent for those from China. In 2010 the EU cut the Ukraine tariff to 7.7 percent and introduced a new top rate for Chinese producers of 42.3 percent.

I particularly enjoy the supernatural predictive powers of the EU, which knows for certain that the Chinese makers will start dumping as soon as the 42.3% tariff--which has been in place for over five years--comes off.

Who can Chinese ironing board manufacturers and free market capitalists turn to in their time of need?

Iron Man, of course!

Housekeeping Note:

Frequent visitors to China Matters will notice that the blog now looks different.  Rest assured, China Matters does not worship blindly at the altar of useless novelty.  It transpired that Google, with its usually thoughtfulness, had quietly degraded support for the original Blogger templates to the point that the post archiving function no longer worked properly.  Therefore, I gritted my teeth and upgraded to a new template and will tweak the content as time permits.  I don’t know if people who follow the blog consider it necessary or desirable to have their avatars displayed at the bottom of the page.  If there are any concerns or suggestions please e-mail me and I will deal with the matter…in mid-August, when I get back to blogging after a trip.


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