PRESS RELEASE: European industry calls on EU to prove its backbone towards China

11 July 2016 / Ahead of the EU China Summit in Beijing on 12-13 July, AEGIS Europe, an alliance of more than 30 European manufacturing associations, calls on European Commission President Juncker and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to take a clear position against Chinese dumping, overcapacity and illegal subsidies. 

"China is not a market economy and therefore cannot be granted Market Economy Status (MES) by the EU. It is of critical importance for all European industries that anti-dumping measures are calculated properly and remain effective and possible under EU trade law," said Milan Nitzschke, spokesman for AEGIS Europe. 

China's state planned economy systematically orchestrates overcapacities and then offers products below production costs in international markets to overwhelm competition. 

Guy Thiran, Director General of Eurometaux, the European non-ferrous metals association explained, “Chinese overcapacities affect all non-ferrous metals. Take aluminium for example: China’s share of global production has skyrocketed to over 50% in the last decade. Over the same period, a third of EU smelters closed their doors. With China's overcapacity now five times bigger than EU primary production, granting MES prematurely presents a real risk to 80,000 hardworking aluminium workers".  

Vidmantas Janulevičius, CEO Global BOD Group and Solitek, the largest producers of CDs, DVDs, ophthalmic lenses and solar cells in Central Eastern Europe, said: "International rules must apply to all countries. If the EU did not act against dumping forcefully, my company would have never invested in solar technology - one of Europe's key technologies. If anti-dumping investigations were impossible in the future, massive manufacturing investments in Europe would be lost forever.”

Alfonso Panzani, President of the ceramic wall and floor tile manufacturer Settecento and Vice-Chairman of Cerame-Unie said: "Chinese dumping is about much more than steel. Any company, especially the small ones that manufacture products in Europe will be affected. Currently there are about 100,000 jobs at stake in the EU ceramic industry concerned by anti-dumping. 80% of them are SMEs, the backbone of EU’s economy. The EU must maintain a robust and effective trade defence system and not accept China's demand for lax anti-dumping measures."

“Silicon is a clear example of what China is able to do: massive overcapacity, persistent dumping and circumvention from China for over 25 years, despite anti-dumping measures in place and anti-circumvention proceedings,” pointed out Ines Vanlierde, Chair of AEGIS Europe and Secretary General of Euroalliages. 

“The EU has the highest bar to introduce trade defence instruments compared to the U.S. or Canada.  Tariffs, for example, on silicon imports from China are 80 percent lower than in the U.S, Vanlierde iterated, adding: "MES would destroy Europe’s trade defence capability, and distort competitive markets”. 

European industry representatives point out that Europe has been struggling for years with social dislocation, unemployment and the erosion of its industrial base. "In a time of increasing instability, the EU must do everything possible to keep high-quality jobs, to protect know-how and to create an environment for investments in jobs and technology," said Nitzschke. 

"The EU-China Economic Summit tomorrow is a critical moment to make clear that the EU cannot endanger jobs and growth, and that China has to adhere to the rules it accepted on how it deals with its trading partners when it acceded to the WTO," Nitzschke concluded.