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EU imposes tariffs on ironing boards from China and Ukraine

The European Union imposed tariffs of as much as 38.1% on ironing boards from China and Ukraine, seeking to shield British, Italian and Polish producers from imports that represent about half the EU market.

The EU duties punish Chinese and Ukrainian exporters for selling ironing boards in the 25-nation bloc below domestic prices or below the production cost, a practice known as “dumping.” The anti-dumping duties are for six months and may be prolonged for five years. EU ironing-board makers suffered “material injury” because “low-priced, dumped imports from the People's Republic of China and Ukraine increased dramatically,” the Brussels- based European Commission said today in the Official Journal. The levies will take effect tomorrow. Chinese and Ukrainian exporters increased their combined share of the EU ironing-board market to 48% last year from 6% in 2002, undercutting at least 30 primarily small and medium-sized EU producers located mainly in Italy, Poland and the UK, according to the commission. The EU imported about 4.1 million ironing boards from China and Ukraine in 2005, according to the commission, which said EU manufacturers sold half that number in the bloc last year.

The commission, the EU's executive arm, didn't identify any producers in the bloc. The six-month EU duties are 10.3% for Ukraine and range from 18.1% to 38.1% for China. Ukraine's sole exporter of the product is Eurogold Industries Ltd., which is affiliated with Switzerland-based Eurogold Service Zumbuehl & Co. Chinese exporters include Zhejiang Harmonic Hardware Products Co. and Guangzhou Power Team Houseware Co., according to the commission. Under EU procedures, the commission can introduce provisional anti-dumping duties for six months and the bloc's national governments can impose “definitive” five-year levies at the same or different rates. Separately today, the EU began a review of a 22.5% anti-dumping duty on a ferroalloy from China to determine “the need for the continuation, removal or amendment” of the levy. The review, which will last as long as 15 months, comes a week after the EU suspended the duty on ferro molybdenum for nine months. The suspension aims to reduce costs for EU steelmakers including Arcelor Mittal after imports from China fell, prices rose and European ferroalloy producers such as Belgium's Sadaci NV profited. (Bloomberg)