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15th August 2017, Brussels

GlassFibreEurope calls for anti-dumping protest

Chinese producers rapidly obtained more than 50% of EU market share before the EU imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of open mesh fabrics in 2011. GlassFibreEurope, the European Glass Fibre Producers Association (APFE) and Tech-Fab Europe (TFE) have called on all actors in the glass fibre value chain to stand united in the fight against illegal trade practises by China.

According to GlassFibreEurope, Chinese dumping is a recurrent and critical issue for both the upstream, as well as downstream industries in the European glass fibre sector. “We must recognise that aggressive and illegal dumping by Chinese producers, in the end, threatens the survival of all members of the glass fibre value chain,” said Axel Jorns, Secretary General of Glass Fibre Europe.

Case of open mesh fabrics

In the most recent case of open mesh fabrics, which has set off alarms bells across a number of EU manufacturing industries, five years after initial EU trade defence measures were adopted, European producers requested an expiry review. The reason for this is the fact that Chinese producers have continued to build up massive underutilised overcapacity and to sell at dumped prices, and the EU market remains the largest and most attractive for them, the association explains.

EU Commission’s DG Trade agreed to open the expiry review of measures on imports of open mesh fabrics, and its findings were disclosed on 26 June 2017. “Despite clear and irrefutable evidence, which showed the likelihood of dumping and injury recurring if the anti-dumping measures were removed, DG Trade proposed the termination of the measures,” says the association.

“The analysis in the Commission’s disclosure is incomplete and does not consider all the relevant evidence, which supports the continuation of the duties.” For example, a very relevant factor not examined in evaluating the likelihood that injury would recur is the fact that China’s overcapacity in open mesh fabrics is equal to the EU’s total consumption.

Commission’s conclusions

“The Commission’s conclusions are simply naïve,” said Mr Jorns. “The EU producers cannot compete with Chinese products priced below cost if the EU’s anti-dumping measures are removed. Indeed, given the huge overcapacity in China, we expect a significant increase in dumped imports from China should the measures be terminated. This would have a devastating impact on EU producers.”

According to China’s ‘13th 5-Year New Materials Plan’ there is a clear state-backed strategy to support Chinese producers by underwriting products being exported, below cost, to third markets - and in particular onto the EU market. “We are expecting the vast overcapacities in glass fibre materials in China to increase over time. This creates terrible uncertainty for the future of European producers,” pointed out Mr Jorns.

Anti-dumping duties

Chinese producers rapidly obtained more than 50% of EU market share before the EU imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of open mesh fabrics in 2011. The association believes that the message of the proposed findings from the Commission to European producers is rather unsettling and raises questions.

GlassFibreEurope supports TechFabEurope in its fight for fair market conditions. “We must wake up and stand united as an industry. We must pull the entire value chain together to stop the virulent spread of illegal dumping and circumvention practises by China. We must demand that international trade rules are respected and enforced by the European Commission,” Mr Jorns concluded.

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