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EU introduces polyester-fiber duties against Taiwan, Malaysia

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.

The EU had imposed anti-dumping duties on polyester staple fibers from Taiwan until March 2005, when the bloc ended the measures after finding that dumping by Taiwanese exporters including Nan Ya Plastics Corp. and Far Eastern Textile Ltd. Had become too limited to justify the trade protection. Taiwanese and Malaysian exporters doubled their combined share of the EU market to about 15% last year compared with 2002, hurting the sales and market share of the EU industry, the commission said in its decision on the new duties. In 2005, Taiwan's share of the EU market was about 13% and Malaysia's 2%, according to the commission. Under EU procedures, the commission can impose provisional anti-dumping duties for six months and the EU's national governments can turn those measures into „definitive” five-year duties at the same or different rates. (Bloomberg)