The European Commission has launched a major investigation into alleged dumping of Chinese exports of ceramic tableware and kitchenware.
The anti-dumping inquiry will be the largest ever made into the way China’s ceramic tableware exporters operate.
If the investigation concludes that products are indeed being dumped – that is, being exported at prices below those charged in their home market or in suspiciously-large quantities – the Chinese manufacturers face punitive new duties.
The investigation has come about because of a complaint made to the European Commission by EU producers representing over 30% of Europe’s total production of ceramic tableware and kitchenware. The commission did not name the producers concerned.
Their concern is that the volume and prices of the Chinese exports have hit their own sales, prices and market share.
The investigation will determine whether the Chinese products are in fact being dumped and, if so, whether that has harmed Europe’s own industry.
China is the biggest manufacturer of household ceramics in the world and sold $710m-worth of china tableware and kitchenware into the EU last year – around 10% of its total production. Chinese exports now account for almost half of the entire European market for those products.
Over 2,000 Chinese manufacturers could be affected by the anti-dumping inquiry, the largest of its kind ever mounted, and some are vowing to fight the allegations.
The manufacturers, some of which face bankruptcy if the commission finds against them, are being backed by the China Ceramics Industrial Association, which believes they have a good chance of defending themselves successfully.
The commission will now take nine months to decide whether to impose provisional anti-dumping duties for six months, while EU governments have 15 months to decide whether to apply “definitive” levies for five years.
The investigation comes hot on the heels of a similar probe by Indonesia into ceramic tableware imported from China. As a result of its findings, Indonesia has announced in the last few days that it is levying an 87% anti-dumping duty.
The EU also recently concluded an anti-dumping investigation into Chinese ceramic tile exports and subsequently ordered anti-dumping duties of up to 69.7% on the tiles for five years as of last September.