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China Begins Fastener Trade Case Against EU

CHINA initiated a trade case yesterday against the European Union, accusing the 27-nation bloc of illegally taxing imports of Chinese steel fasteners needed for products from furniture to cars.

China's complaint at the World Trade Organization alleges that the EU import charges were "neither impartial nor transparent." The result is that charges unfairly penalize the "legitimate commercial interests of over 1,700 Chinese fastener producers."

In January, the EU slapped Chinese exporters with trade charges ranging from 26.5 percent to 85 percent for five years, arguing that below-cost selling by Chinese companies prevented European producers from gaining extra market share as sales boomed in recent years.

China's complaint yesterday starts a 60-day consultation period, after which China can ask the WTO to set up an investigative panel. WTO cases can result in retaliatory trade sanctions being authorized, but generally only after years of litigation.

The EU anti-dumping charges on the fasteners were imposed in January. Chinese screw makers complained in February that the EU's actions would hurt consumers without helping European producers.


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