Fabian Demicoli

GRTU position on the Anti-Dumping duties on kitchenware and tableware originating from China

GRTU held a
consultation meeting with its members importers of China originating tableware
and kitchenware, whose products would fall within the scope of this anti-dumping
duty, in the presence of the Economic Policy Division on 17th
October 2012. During the meeting direct feedback was given and it was made
clear that such an anti-dumping duty is not in the interest of Maltese
importers, retailers and consumers. GRTU would like to put its position in
writing and state clearly that we oppose the imposition of such an anti-dumping
duty.

Our main
objection to any antidumping duties would be that they would impose unnecessary
extra costs upon consumers and that these would outweigh any benefits to
European producers.

Any suggestion
that additional duties could be absorbed by retailers is incorrect, especially
since the duty is planned to be substantial. In order to avoid unsustainable
losses, anything including the most marginal duty rates would have to be passed
on to consumers.

In
addition, the case of imports of ceramic tableware and kitchenware originating
from China particularly tend to be concentrated in lower value ranges.  This means that any increase in prices
resulting from the imposition of duties is likely to affect those consumers
least able to afford it.

There
are a significant amount of European producers who import products from China
and finish those products in the European Union, before exporting onto the
world market. These businesses will also be placed at a competitive
disadvantage compared to other global producers by the imposition of European
duties.

It
is not at all clear that the imposition of antidumping duties would lead to
increased sourcing from European producers. In fact, according to our members,
antidumping duties would more likely result in a switch to sourcing from other
third countries e.g. Bangladesh and Vietnam.

European
suppliers tend to excel in providing premium products, focused on design
quality. European suppliers would not be able to compete at the same price
points as Chinese suppliers where production requires a higher level of labour
input, such as for example small cast items with hand painting, such as mugs
and coasters.

There
is an insufficient number of European producers capable of supplying the
volumes required by EU importers and therefore we will face lack of supply
which leaves no option by to seek other markets. Many European producers also
do not have the technical capability to produce certain products required, for
example stacking mugs.

Stoneware
is not widely available in the EU.  The
alternative earthenware is generally more porous and not as hardwearing.  In addition the surface of earthenware is
grainy so many techniques cannot be achieved.

GRTU
therefore does not believe that the introduction of antidumping duties will
yield any obvious benefits to domestic producers, especially when compared to
the enormous burdens such an imposition will mean for the other players.

We
do not believe that Anti-dumping duties are in the Union's interest.  They will increase prices for consumers and
add to inflationary pressures, without delivering any significant benefits to
European producers. The uncertainty created by the investigation involves other
unnecessary additional costs for retailers, wholesalers and importers and works
against other agreed EU policy objectives.

For
all of these reasons, we urge Maltese decision makers to oppose any proposals
to apply antidumping duties on these products.

 

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