EU Slaps Chinese Steel Wheel Makers With 66 Percent Taxes

European Union flags fly near the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 4, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo )

The European Union has slapped a 66 percent tax on steel road wheels made in China, going after big-name firms such as Xingmin Intelligent Transportation Company and the Zhejiang Jingu Company for violating trade practices.

The tariffs are a form of sanction for steel wheel export companies in China for modes of transport that run on steel wheels that have allegedly been sold way under market prices in the European region.

Economists call this practice of selling below prescribed market prices as 'dumping.' The steel wheel business has a current market value of more than $880 million dollars in the European region alone.

Based on a European Commission report released by The Official Journal on Thursday, dumped steel wheels from mainland China has disrupted the manufacture of these products by local firms in the European Union.

Tariffs that cover illegally dumped materials from abroad represent the initial results of an inquiry launched in February this year based on merits that stemmed from a complaint by the Association of European Wheel Manufacturers.

The latest fines set to be approved on Friday will have an expiration period of six months and subject for the extension for five years.

There are currently around a dozen steel road wheel makers in the European Union, the European Commission said. The companies requested not to be named on the basis of "a fear of retaliation by some of their clients," the EC disclosed.

Some 3,600 employees currently comprise the European Union's total workforce spread across France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland and Romania, the EC disclosed in a separate statement regarding the matter.

The total share of China's export companies in the European industry for steel wheels have risen twice to 5.4 percent in 2018 compared to figures in 2015, the EC

Chinese exporters' combined share of the EU market for steel road wheels doubled to 5.3% last year compared with 2015, The Official Journal reported, citing an EC decision.

The rates of the interim anti-dumping levies are 50.4 percent against 19 targeted Chinese exporters, which include Zhejiang Jingu and Xingmin Intelligent Transportation -- and 66.5 percent for the rest.

In a separate statement, the European policymakers threatened to add fuel to continuing friction with China over the steel business by launching a probe on whether Chinese companies manufacturing stainless steel sheets are granted trade-disrupting state support.

Regulators from Europe have already imposed anti-dumping tariffs on a broad array of other goods shipped from China, the largest producer of the metal with about 50 percent of the world's production.

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