EU companies relying on imports of stainless steel cold-rolled flat products from Turkey, Vietnam and Taiwan will see hefty EU duties imposed on their consignments, reports Joanna Sopinska for MLex. The aim is to address circumvention, happening via those three countries, of EU dumping and countervailing duties imposed on imports from Indonesia in 2021.

EU companies importing stainless steel cold-rolled flat products from Turkey, Vietnam, and Taiwan will face substantial EU duties on their shipments, MLex has learned. The goal is to counter circumvention, occurring via these three countries, of EU dumping and countervailing duties imposed on imports from Indonesia in 2021.

EU investigators have found that Indonesian producers have been dodging the measures by routing their shipments via Turkey, Vietnam and Taiwan — an illegal practice known as circumvention. They concluded that turning Indonesian seamless steel into the cold-rolled flat products in these three countries could be considered as circumvention because it was in fact an assembly operation, where the imported parts represented 60 percent or more of the value of all parts of the assembled product.

The European Association of Non-Integrated Metal Importers and Distributors, known as Euranimi, which has been involved in the probe as one of the interested parties, disagrees and calls it a harmful misinterpretation of what cold-rolling really is (see here).

“While Euranimi acknowledges the commission’s laudable objective of deterring circumvention while acknowledging compliant organizations, it also raises serious concerns about the implications of the disclosed details, which deviate from established norms and pose risks for importers operating within the steel industry,” the lobby group said in a statement on April 11.

In November 2021, the EU imposed dumping duties of up to 20.2 percent on imports of Indonesian stainless steel cold-rolled flat products that had been proven to be unfairly priced and having a negative effect on the bloc’s industry.

Four months later, it followed with anti-subsidy duties of up to 21.4 percent, after finding that the Indonesian imports into the bloc had been unfairly subsidized.

Eurofer, the European steel association, lodged a complaint with the commission in July 2023, claiming the Indonesian producers had been evading both measures by shipping their products via Turkey, Vietnam and Taiwan.

On Aug. 14, the EU regulator opened two separate anti-circumvention probes to determine whether duty-evasion had indeed taken place. Following a probe, EU investigators found Indonesian producers were indeed dodging both measures by routing their exports to the EU via those three countries.

As a remedy, the commission proposes to subject imports from Turkey, Vietnam and Taiwan to Indonesian measures to protect the bloc’s market. Under the plan, the EU anti-subsidy duties on Indonesian imports will be extended to the bloc’s imports from all three countries, and the bloc’s dumping duties will apply to Vietnam and Taiwan.

EU investigators found that Turkish companies were not involved in circumventing the bloc’s dumping duties and terminated the probe, imposing no measures.

The proposals were approved earlier this week by EU governments, paving for their entry into force in the coming weeks. The EU regulator has until May 11 to formally complete the probes and announce their outcomes.

19 April 2024