Fabian Demicoli

Vote against the imposition of anti-dumping duties


GRTU urges
Malta's anti-dumping committee representative to vote against the imposition of
anti-dumping duties – On 15 November 2012, the European Commission imposed – against the
recommendation of a majority of the EU's member states – provisional
anti-dumping duties of up to 58.8% on tableware and kitchenware originating in
the People's Republic of China.

Tableware and kitchenware is an important
product segment for European retailers, wholesalers and consumers, and
according to the European Commission, Chinese tableware and kitchenware valued
at 728 million euro was imported into the EU in 2011.

In this context, GRTU has writtin officially to Government, calling on the Maltese
anti-dumping committee representative to vote against the imposition of
anti-dumping duties in the vote for definitive 5-year measures later this
spring.

GRTU
held a consultation meeting with its members importers of China originating
tableware and kitchenware in collaboration with 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 had also made this its
position in writing and stated clearly that we oppose the imposition of such an
anti-dumping duty.

GRTU's
main objection to any antidumping duties was that they would impose unnecessary
extra costs upon consumers and that these would outweigh any benefits to
European producers. Additional arguments include:

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.

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 but to seek other markets. In
addition 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.

In
summary, as a result of the provisional anti-dumping duties, retailers are
suffering reduced margins and consumers are paying higher prices, but there are
no extra orders going to European manufacturers. We do not believe that
Anti-dumping duties are in the Union's interest.  They 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.

GRTU therefore urged Malta's anti-dumping
committee representative to vote against the imposition of anti-dumping duties
in the vote for definitive measures later this spring. GRTU requested a
commitment by Government to vote in the interest of Malta and inform GRTU as
the national directly interested representative with Malta's national voting
intention.

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