China scores broad win in WTO fastener appeal against EU

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China scored a broad victory Friday at the World Trade Organization in its appeal against Brussels over EU anti-dumping measures imposed on imports of Chinese metal fasteners such as nuts and bolts.

According to a ruling issued by the WTO, an appellate body upheld a December 3, 2010 ruling that Brussels acted inconsistently in its anti-dumping calculations, which led the bloc to impose tariffs ranging from 26.5 percent to 85 percent on Chinese imports.

As China is regarded as a non-market economy by the European Union, Brussels applied a country-wide dumping margin and duty unless individual companies fulfilled certain conditions set by the EU.

The WTO ruled however that requiring such conditions is discriminatory and called on Brussels to "bring its measures ... into conformity" with trade rules.

China welcomed the ruling, saying that the case is "of great significance."

"This is not only a victory for the Chinese industry but for the WTO rules as well. The ruling is reinforcing the confidence of WTO members (in) the multilateral trading system," the Chinese delegation to the WTO said in a statement.

Nevertheless, the EU won a small consolation, as the appellate body reversed an earlier ruling and found instead that Brussels did not violate trade rules by keeping confidential the identities of those who have initiated a dumping complaint against China.

China is the world's biggest producer of screws, nuts, bolts and washers, while the European Union is its biggest market.

EU-China trade has exploded in recent years, making the EU the top destination for Chinese exports while China is Europe's biggest trade partner after the United States.

© 2011 AFP

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