Brussels, 26 February 2013
WTO confirms China illegally imposed anti-dumping duties on scanners from the EU
A World Trade Organization panel found that China's anti-dumping duties on X-ray security scanners from the EU were in breach of WTO anti-dumping rules. WTO rules say that anti-dumping duties can only be imposed under strict conditions to address cases in which exports sold below fair value cause damage to the domestic industry of the importing country, so-called "injurious dumping". The panel agreed with the EU that these conditions were not met by China in this case. The panel concluded that China also failed to respect due process and transparency requirements and called on China to bring its measures in line with WTO rules. The report marks a clear victory for the EU. If it is not appealed within 60 days, China will be expected to remove its duties on EU imports of X-ray security scanners.
"Today’s WTO ruling clearly confirms that countries using trade defence measures have to play by the rules," said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "I will not accept tit-for-tat retaliation against European companies through the misuse of trade defence instruments. The panel report is very clear, so I expect China to remove the measures immediately."
The panel's findings are also of systemic importance because they highlighted recurrent shortcomings found in trade defence investigations carried out in China. The report sends a strong signal that, while WTO members have the right to use their trade defence instruments, this right cannot be abused and must be exercised in line with WTO rules.
China imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of X-ray security scanners from the EU in January 2011. Ranging from 33.5% to 71.8%, they essentially closed the Chinese market to imports of European X-ray security scanners. The EU saw no justification for the measures, either on substantive or procedural grounds. The Chinese anti-dumping measures were imposed after the EU had decided to introduce definitive anti-dumping duties on a related product, cargo scanners from China in June 2010, making Beijing's action look more like retaliation rather than an effort to address genuine concerns about "injurious dumping".
In July 2011 the EU requested WTO consultations on the matter, but these failed to bring about an acceptable solution. Undeterred, the EU challenged, for the first time ever, a Chinese trade defence measure before a WTO panel. Today's report vindicates the EU's tough stance.
The panel report can be appealed against to the WTO Appellate Body within 60 days. If no appeal is filed within that deadline the report will be adopted and China will be bound to comply with the recommendation to bring its measure into line with WTO rules.
For further information
The EU's WTO case against China's anti-dumping duties on x-ray security inspection equipment from the EU
The WTO Panel Report
Helene Banner (+32 2 295 24 07)
John Clancy (+32 2 295 37 73)