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After solar panels and wine, now its steel tubes

After solar panels and wine, now its steel tubes
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Steel is the latest issue in a rapidly escalating trade conflict between the European Union and China.

Brussels is reportedly going to protest to the World Trade Organisation about Chinese duties on specialised steel tubes used in power plants.

A Reuters report quotes EU sources.

Japan launched a complain against China over that in December and the EU would join that case.

The seamless stainless steel tubes are made by firms such as Spain’s Tubacex and Germany’s Salzgitter.

China first announced the plan to impose the duties in early September 2011, just weeks after the EU slapped similar duties on Chinese-made stainless steel pipes and tubes in June.

China’s Mission to the EU had no immediate comment.

This follows Beijing’s decision to investigate alleged dumping of European wine in apparent retaliation against the EU imposing duties on Chinese solar panels.

The sources told Reuters the stainless steel tube case was separate from the dispute over solar panels and wine.

The Commission’s spokesman on trade issues said he could not
comment on a specific cases until filed at the WTO, but said if there were to be a complaint it would not be related to any ongoing investigation, such as into solar panels.

“Trade dispute settlement via the WTO is a completely separate process based on many months of legal preparation and analysis. Any such action, if undertaken, cannot be interpreted in any way as a retaliatory step,” said spokesman John Clancy.

“The EU does not engage in retaliatory actions. It works only on the basis of the law.”

The WTO declined to comment.

The filing, which may come as soon as this week, will send a signal to Beijing that the EU is willing to take legal action against any duties it considers to be based on retaliation rather than objective evidence.