PRESS RELEASE: AEGIS Europe calls on EU to ensure robust Trade Defence in glass fibre fabrics case

Brussels, 4 July 2017 – AEGIS Europe has expressed major concerns regarding the approach being taken by DG Trade in the first expiry review of anti-dumping measures on imports of open mesh fabrics of glass fibres originating from China. This case comes at a crucial moment, one week before the start of the Trilogue on a new EU Anti-Dumping methodology, currently scheduled for 12 July. 

Open mesh fabrics are mainly used as reinforcement materials in the construction sector. The European Commission is currently proposing the expiry of measures on open mesh fabrics, despite acknowledging sustained large-scale overcapacity in China, and, not least because of repeated circumvention and fraudulent imports, finding that dumped EU imports from China are likely to increase substantially if the measures are removed.

EU industry contends that the current anti-dumping measures in place have made the difference in enabling EU industry to recover and compete in the market, undistorted by unfair trade. Of great concern is the fact that the Commission has admitted in its disclosed findings that it has not received any co-operation from Chinese producers in its investigation, and yet it appears to be drawing conclusions most favourable to those same producers in order to give them the ultimate prize, the termination of measures. 

Milan Nitzschke, spokesperson for AEGIS Europe pointed out: “The European Commission's position would arbitrarily end the defence of a whole EU industry.  To withdraw a measure at the moment it starts to have visible effect against unfair trade is the opposite of reliable trade defence.  This is akin to a doctor giving a patient medication for a life-threatening disease, and at the moment it starts to work deciding to take it away, leaving the patient at the mercy of the disease.” 

"The open mesh fabrics case raises serious systemic concerns for all EU manufacturing industries, and AEGIS Europe has written to the Trade Commissioner to express these concerns. The Commission services have been focusing selectively on the current health of the EU industry with measures in place, without an adequate assessment of the prospective situation of the sector as it would be in the absence of measures, which is the legally required focus in an expiry review."

“As the legislation for the new 'non-standard' anti-dumping methodology is being negotiated, this is a very important case. In the absence of the clear technical rules proposed by the European Parliament, anti-dumping cases would become much more uncertain and highly political in the future,” stated Mr Nitzschke.

“European manufacturers are concerned that if the Commission's approach to this case is maintained, and the measures are terminated, questions will be raised about how the Commission would use its discretion in applying the new proposed anti-dumping methodology, and how serious the Commission is about having effective measures in place to deal with systemic country- or sector-wide distortions,” continued Mr Nitzschke. 

AEGIS Europe calls on EU policy makers to back the position on the Commission's November proposal adopted on 20 June 2017 by the European Parliament. “The Parliament has identified a number of checks and balances that should be included in the EU’s new anti-dumping methodology. These amendments provide an essential level of legal certainty to help ensure that the Commission takes decisions that defend the EU industry’s ability to compete under fair conditions in its own market,” concluded Mr Nitzschke.

Natalia Kurop m: +32 488 945 579

About AEGIS Europe
AEGIS Europe brings together nearly 30 European associations representing a broad variety of industries including traditional industries, consumer branches, SMEs and renewable energy sectors, accounting for more than €500 billion in annual turnover and millions of jobs across the EU. This industry alliance, made up of leaders in sustainable manufacturing and social and environmental responsibility, is committed to European manufacturing as the fundamental driver of innovation, growth and jobs in Europe.
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Notes for Editors on the Anti-dumping case for woven open mesh fabrics made of glass fibre

1.    Concerned product and European market:

Woven open mesh fabrics made of glass fibre are technical textiles used for reinforcement purposes in the building and construction sector.

The main applications are for the reinforcement of:

  • External Thermal Insulation Composites Systems (for energy saving in building)
  • Walls
  • Marble and mosaic
  • Floors

The EU counts about 20 producers, most of which are members of the Tech-Fab Europe e.V. association.
They are providing competitive products to a dynamic European market, including in relation to the numerous energy-saving programs initiated by EU Member States to reach the COP21 objectives and to contribute to the Union's sustainable development.

Unfortunately, like other glass fiber and technical textile producers in Europe, woven open mesh fabric producers have been suffering from the aggressive dumping of Chinese producers. Dumped Chinese products have been flowing in massive quantities into the Union market since 2000, due to their huge underutilized overcapacities.

2.    Anti-dumping case:

To fight against Chinese dumping, a core group of EU woven open mesh fabrics producers lodged an anti-dumping complaint in 2010, which resulted in the adoption of anti-dumping measures against Chinese imports of up to 62.9% in August 2011.

Due to the attractiveness of the EU market and their unused overcapacities, Chinese producers have tried to avoid the AD duties by undertaking massive circumvention through third countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Bangladesh and Singapore.

EU producers lodged additional investigation requests with the European Commission and with OLAF to get the anti-dumping measures extended to imports from these countries involved in circumvention.

In May 2016, five years after the initial measures were adopted, European producers requested an expiry review of existing measures due to the fact Chinese producers have continued the same practices in recent years. Chinese producers continue to price undercut, aggressively dump, and have a massive underutilized, overcapacity. DG Trade agreed to open an investigation. Its findings were disclosed on 26 June 2017. According to the EU industry, the analysis in the Commission’s disclosure is incomplete and does not consider all the relevant evidence which supports the continuation of the duties.