China will impose anti-dumping levies on carbon-steel fasteners imported into the country from the European Union, the country's ministry of commerce said on Wednesday. The move is in response to the EU imposition of an antidumping duty on China-made leather shoes.
While the moves are likely to increase tensions arising from the slump in global trade, China also accused Europe of protectionism for extending curbs on imports of Chinese shoes as well.
Effective 28 December, China will levy additional tariffs on imports of carbon steel fasteners from Europe that will range from 16.8 per cent to 24.6 per cent, according to an announcement by the ministry. The ministry said competent authorities had determined that the products were being sold at improperly low prices.
China and its partner nations have launched a series of trade probes and have increased tariffs on imports of several goods in their bid to support indigenous manufacturers, paying scant heed to calls to avoid protectionism amid falling global consumer demand.
China is the world's biggest steel producer and many countries have complained of its dumping strategy to harm their domestic producers. The US imposed anti-dumping duties on several types of Chinese steel products.
In the shoe row, EU governments agreed on Tuesday to extend higher duties on Chinese and Vietnamese leather shoes. According to the EU, its shoemakers are suffering as Chinese and Vietnamese manufacturers are dumping shoes below production cost.
However, China sees the EU move as a return to protectionism. China's commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian said in a statement, that the decision "takes Europe farther down the road of protectionism."
China's aggressive trading practices are, however, not limited to steel products alone and along with its trading partners it is involved in disputes over tires, steel pipes, petrochemical products and other goods.
This week a World Trade Organisation panel upheld a ruling in a case brought by the US that China follows restrictive policies against imports of foreign movies, music and books requiring sales to be channeled through state-owned companies.