EU plans anti-subsidy probe into Chinese steelmakers – FT

(Reuters) – The European Union is planning to announce anti-subsidy investigations against Chinese steelmakers at a summit with the United States this month, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Brussels has agreed to join Washington’s efforts to shield industries from cheap competition, the report said, citing two officials with knowledge of the move.

Washington has asked Brussels to move against Chinese steel producers in return for avoiding the re-imposition of Trump-era tariffs on EU steel and aluminium, with an end-October deadline to reach an agreement.

The European Commission and China’s Ministry of Commerce did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the report.

U.S. President Joe Biden will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel on Oct. 20. This is just before the deadline to agree on measures to counter steel overcapacity and promote ‘green’ steel. Washington has said it wants to prevent “leakage” of Chinese steel and aluminium into the U.S. market.

The EU already has punitive tariffs in place on 20 grades of Chinese steel and stainless steel products, in most cases to counter dumping rather than subsidies. It has also set import quotas as part of measures to safeguard its market until mid-2024.

China’s shipments have steadily fallen since 2015, when they made up 25% of EU steel imports in volume terms, to below 10% since 2018, according to EU steelmakers federation Eurofer.

New investigations, which could fill in steel grades not already covered, would be among a number the EU is considering, such as for wind turbines, or has already begun.

Brussels formally launched an investigation last week to counter what von der Leyen said was a flood of cheaper Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports benefiting from state subsidies.

China complained about the “very short” time provided by Brussels to engage in consultations for that inquiry. Beijing also urged Brussels to “prudently” apply any trade remedies.

(Reporting by Nilutpal Timsina in Bengaluru, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, additional reporting by Amy Lv in Beijing; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Mark Potter)