The European Union imposed tariffs on polyester fibers from Taiwan and Malaysia to protect EU producers including Ireland's Wellman International Ltd. and Spain's La Seda de Barcelona SA from cheaper imports.The EU duties punish Taiwanese and Malaysian exporters of polyester staple fibers for selling in Europe's €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) market below prices in their own countries or below the production cost, a practice known as dumping. The duties are as much as 29.5% for Taiwan and as high as 23% for Malaysia. EU polyester-fiber manufacturers suffered „material injury” as a result of dumped imports from Taiwan and Malaysia, the European Commission, the EU's executive arm in Brussels, said in the Official Journal yesterday. The duties took effect today, will last six months and may be prolonged for five years. The 25-nation EU is seeking to balance the interests of European producers and buyers of polyester staple fibers, which are used in clothes, bed linen and furniture fillings. Two months ago, the bloc scrapped anti-dumping duties on the product from India, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia while leaving in place levies against China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Belarus.