EU eyes a new front in trade spat with China

Marion Dakers
EUROPE’S trade spat with China, which has already spread from solar panels to X-ray scanners and imported wine, is set to spill over into a case at the World Trade Organisation.

The EU is reportedly planning to join Japan’s complaint about Chinese duties on steel tubes used in power plants.

A formal filing is expected as early as this week, according to Reuters.

The move comes a week after Europe slapped tough new levies on imports of Chinese-made solar panels, prompting the world’s second-biggest economy to threaten to constrain the import of European wines.

“The [European] Commission is quite confident that retaliation by the Chinese is now recognised, so they think they have a good chance to win,” a source said.

The WTO, which has 159 members, agreed to examine the Japan-China steel dispute last month following an initial filing in December.

The two sides have become increasingly hostile over trade disagreements. In February, the EU won a WTO dispute against Chinese duties on X-ray scanners, with a settlement panel in Geneva agreeing the duties imposed by China were not based on an objective examination. And in October last year China was also found to have broken WTO rules by slapping punitive duties on a type of US steel.