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GRTU and its members importers of ceramic tiles from China were very taken aback by a sudden development which saw the introduction of up to 73% duty on imports of ceramic tiles originating from a significant number of companies based in China.
Basically what this meant is that an importer who had submitted an order months back for ceramic tiles from one of the several companies in China and the order happened to arrive after March 18th 2011 they had to pay an extra duty. The importers would have already agreed on the price with the consumer and the mark-up they had planned to make was significantly reduced.
GRTU immediately held a meeting with the sector to analyse the size of the problem as in the number of imports that were imported. GRTU took action by presenting its case and formally writing to the Commission. As we learnt unfortunately when an investigation on anti-dumping is taking place and the majority of the member states are in favour not much can be done but await the verdict and, in this case, hope that the duty, which is currently temporary, is abolished and not made permanent.
Following discussion with the Commission however GRTU also confirmed that since the duty is not confirmed Member States, the majority of which acted in this manner, would not impose the duty but require a bank guarantee in case the duty is confirmed. In Malta however the authorities have decided to impose the duty immediately. To prove this the Commission provided us with the text of Article 7 (3) of the basic anti-dumping Regulation (EC) No 1225/2009 (OJ L 343/51 of 22/12/2009) :
"3. Provisional duties shall be secured by a guarantee, and the release of the products concerned for free circulation in the Community shall be conditioned upon the provision of such guarantee. "
Malta therefore has a choice and the GRTU intends to cause it to choose in favour of the duty. Meanwhile should the duty not be confirmed GRTU will also place pressure so that the enterprises that paid the duty would be refunded.
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