Chinese anti-dumping tariffs unfair, says EU
on exports of its potato starch by China, are unfairly targeting
producers within the bloc.
The tariffs came into effect on Monday following a year long investigation into rapid declines within the Chinese potato starch industry, and will see EU producers face additional punitive duties of between 17 per cent and 35 per cent on their merchandise.
The issue highlights the increasing problems facing governments in integrating global trade, particularly with the growing prominence of developing markets like China.
While accepting the country's need to protect its ingredients industry, European Commission spokesperson Michael Mann, revealed that the EC was disappointed at the decision to impose the tariffs on a market it estimates accounts for 5 - 10 per cent of its total potato starch sales.
"The European Commission is very disappointed with China's decision to impose anti-dumping duties on imports of potato starch from the EU, given that this is an important market for EU exporters," he said.
Mann revealed that while opposing any irregularities in exports from the bloc, there were some concerns regarding the investigation that led to the tariffs being imposed regarding China's definition of potato starch products.
"We were very concerned by how the product under investigation was defined and we made very strong representations to the Chinese to address these issues," he said.
"In the potato starch case we found a number of general problems which are systemic to the Chinese anti-dumping practice and a number of specific problems related to this case."
As a result of this the Mann added, "The EC will continue to make representations on these issues at every level with the Chinese."
Commenting on imposing the tariffs, Zhou Qingfeng, director of the Chinese commission on potato starch revealed that the measures will act as a vital step towards the survival of the industry in the country.
He explained that in 2005 due to the influx of cheaper EU potato starch, Chinese production was only operating at 30 per cent of its total capacity.
This figure was increased to 60 per cent a year later, which Qingfeng attributes to a preliminary ruling requiring that importers of potato starch from the EU to pay duties to Chinese customs.
These preliminary charges saw the price for a ton of potato starch rise from €396 in 2005 to €475 last year, leading China to impose to further protect its potato starch industry.
Following these findings Qingfeng added that the country's authorities had no choice but to impose the measures.
"The move will save our industry from disaster," he said.
Potato starch has a variety of applications for the food industry and is becoming an increasingly important ingredient for formulators with applications in pharmaceuticals as well.