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EU prolongs tariffs on plastic-bottle chemical from Asia

The European Union prolonged tariffs for five years on imports from Asia of a chemical used by plastic-bottle mold makers such as Resilux SA and bottlers including Coca-Cola Co.

The EU duties of as much as €200.90 ($262.90) a metric ton cover polyethylene terephthalate, which is also used in plastic films and fibers, from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan. The EU introduced the tariffs in 2000 at generally the same levels as the new measures.
The levies aim to prevent exporters in the six countries from selling PET in the EU's €3 billion market below domestic prices or below the production cost, a practice known as „dumping.” The measures protect European PET producers including La Seda de Barcelona SA of Spain and Eastman Chemical BV of the Netherlands. „There is a clear likelihood of recurrence of injurious dumping if measures were to be repealed,” the EU said in a decision today.
The new anti-dumping duties, which conclude a 15-month inquiry that prevented the duties from lapsing as originally planned in December 2005, will take effect after being published in the Official Journal in the coming days. The EU trade protection has led to a decline in the six Asian countries' combined share of the European PET market to 7% in the 12 months through September 2005 from about 23% six years earlier, according to the bloc. The new levies are as much as €200.90 a ton on India, €187.70 on Indonesia, €160.10 on Malaysia, €148.30 on Korea, €83.20 on Thailand and €143.40 on Taiwan.

Some exporters including India's Reliance Industries Ltd. will continue to be exempted in return for respecting minimum prices and South Korea's SK Chemicals Co. will remain subject to a zero rate. In a separate decision, the 27-nation EU imposed anti-subsidy duties on PET from India for another five years.
The new anti-subsidy levies are as much as €106.50 a ton compared with the previous maximum of €41.30 and Indian exporters including Reliance Industries will continue to be exempted in return for respecting minimum prices. The new anti-subsidy duties, which also result from a 15-month review that prevented the measures from expiring as scheduled in December 2005, will take effect after being published in the Official Journal in the coming days.
The EU's anti-dumping protection against imported PET extends to more than the six Asian nations facing the prolonged levies. In August 2004, the EU introduced five-year anti-dumping duties of as high as €184 a ton on PET from China and Australia. From near-zero levels in 1999, China's share of the EU PET market reached 6.6% and Australia's 1.5% within three years, according to the bloc. (Bloomberg)