The European Commission yesterday announced the tax in response to claims by an anonymous EU manufacturer that Chinese producers are pushing their products onto the European market at artificially low prices.
The taxes will add between 17.6 per cent and 58.8 per cent to the price of items like plates, cups and oven dishes arriving from China – which produces half of the ceramics on sale in the EU.
This extra cost will add €287m (£231.3m) to importers’ costs, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), pushing up prices for the consumer.
The Commission has imposed the taxes with just 24 hours’ notice, making matters tougher for importers and retailers.
“Because China mainly supplies the value end of the market, this will deny less well-off customers access to affordable crockery,” said the BRC’s head Stephen Robertson.
“The irony is: making hard-pressed customers pay more will do nothing to support European producers who don’t have the capacity to produce enough at low enough prices.”
“Our members tell us that the only alternative for them, if they’re forced to look elsewhere, will be to source from other low-cost Asian countries.”