GlassFibreEurope, the European Glass Fibre Producers Association (APFE) and Tech-Fab Europe (TFE) are calling on all players in the glass fibre value chain to unite in the fight against illegal trade practices by China.
Chinese predatory dumping is a recurrent and critical issue for both the upstream as well as downstream industries in the European glass fibre sector, GlassFibreEurope claims.
“We must recognise that aggressive and illegal dumping by Chinese producers, in the end, threatens the survival of all members of the glass fibre value chain,” says Axel Jorns, Secretary General of GlassFibreEurope.
GlassFibreEurope reports that in the most recent case of open mesh fabrics, five years after initial EU trade defence measures were adopted, European producers requested an expiry review. The reason for this, it says, is that Chinese producers have continued to build up massive under-utilised overcapacity and to sell at dumped prices, plus the EU market remains the largest and most attractive market to them. EU Commission’s DG Trade agreed to open the expiry review of measures on imports of open mesh fabrics, and its findings were disclosed on 26 June 2017. According to GlassFibreEurope, despite clear and irrefutable evidence, which showed the likelihood of dumping and injury recurring if the anti-dumping measures were removed, DG Trade proposed the termination of the measures. The analysis in the Commission’s disclosure is incomplete and does not consider all the relevant evidence, which supports the continuation of the duties, it says. For example, a relevant factor not examined in evaluating the likelihood that injury would recur, is the fact that China’s overcapacity in open mesh fabrics is equal to the EU’s total consumption.
“The Commission’s conclusions are simply naïve,” says Jorns. “European producers cannot compete with Chinese products priced below cost if the EU’s anti-dumping measures are removed. Indeed, given the huge overcapacity in China, we expect a significant increase in dumped imports from China should the measures be terminated. This would have a devastating impact on EU producers.”
According to China’s 13th 5-Year New Materials Plan there is a clear state-backed strategy to support Chinese producers by underwriting products being exported, below cost, to third markets, and in particular onto the EU market, according to GlassFibreEurope.
“We are expecting the vast overcapacities in glass fibre materials in China to increase over time,” Jorns warns. “This creates terrible uncertainty for the future of European producers.”
Chinese producers rapidly obtained more than 50% of EU market share before the EU imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of open mesh fabrics in 2011, reports GlassFibreEurope, which is supporting Tech-Fab Europe in its fight for fair market conditions.
“We must wake up and stand united as an industry,” Jorns concludes. “We must pull the entire value chain together to stop the virulent spread of illegal dumping and circumvention practices by China. We must demand that international trade rules are respected and enforced by the European Commission.”
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