Unfair Chinese competition: EU plans anti-subsidy steel probe

China's President Xi Jinping and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met in Beijing on April 6, 2023.
China's President Xi Jinping and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met in Beijing on April 6, 2023. Copyright Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP
By Euronews with Reuters
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In a joint effort with Washington, the European Union is planning anti-subsidy investigations against Chinese steelmakers.


The European Union is planning to announce anti-subsidy investigations against Chinese steelmakers at a summit with the US this month, the Financial Times (FT) reports.

According to the FT, Brussels has agreed to join Washington's efforts to shield industries from cheap competition.

Leaders from both sides of the Atlantic have been working on a deal in the past few months, in an effort to avoid trade tariffs on each other's steel goods.

The Trump-era measure, imposed in an “America first” spirit, was meant to protect American steel production. In 2018, the 25% US-imposed tariff on steel imports was met by a similar percentage in the EU, who had to retaliate to not grant the US an unfair advantage.

Washington had asked Brussels to move against Chinese steel producers in return for avoiding the re-imposition of Trump-era tariffs on EU steel.

The deadline to avert this disadvantageous situation for both sides is the end of the month.

US President Joe Biden will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel on 20 October, when the deal is expected to be announced. 

US President Joe Biden hosted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Washington DC, on March 10, 2023.MANDEL NGAN/AFP

Efforts to curb China’s unfair competition

In September, Brussels launched an investigation into whether to impose punitive tariffs to protect EU producers against cheaper Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports it says are benefiting from state subsidies.

“Global markets are now flooded with cheaper Chinese electric cars. And their price is kept artificially low by huge state subsidies," von der Leyen said during her State of the Union speech in Strasbourg last month.

China complained about the "very short" time provided by Brussels to engage in consultations for the bloc's inquiry into subsidies for EVs.

Beijing also urged Brussels to safeguard the stability of the global supply chain and a strategic partnership between the two, while "prudently" applying trade remedies.

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