Anti-dumping: The industry’s viewpoint
In the last edition of Fastener + Fixing Magazine we invited the European Fastener Distributors Association and the European Industrial Fasteners Institute to give us their perspective on the anti-dumping investigation into imports of certain iron or steel fasteners from the People’s Republic of China (2020/C 442/06). For this issue we have invited individual manufacturers and distributors to give us their perspective.
Nobody’s thoughts have been omitted. If ideas or beliefs are not represented it is simply because they were not provided. Through necessity of space, some contributions have been edited, but we have been meticulous in retaining the core of each contributor’s perspective. We also gave companies the opportunity to remain anonymous if they preferred. We make no claim for how representative these assessments are, but they represent both sides of the discussion and make for a fascinating read.
We believe that this investigation is very unfortunate and, as the anti-dumping in 2009 showed, European producers still haven’t started producing common fastening material. Rather, they focus on the automotive industry and products that have greater added value, which means us traders have no other choice but to purchase goods in the surrounding countries of south-east Asia – if tariffs are introduced on the People’s Republic of China.
This will simply mean that we will import more expensive goods and sell more expensively to our customers. These European customers will then buy the products for a higher price and in the end the EU consumer will be harmed.
The European Industrial Fasteners Institute (EIFI) initiated the investigation, but if they wanted to protect EU fastener manufacturers, why are non-EU manufactured items included in the investigation? Just because they fall into the general group of fasteners? We all know that fastening material is not just a screw and a nut – the product range can be very extensive. Therefore, it should only be judged in the interest of the European Union, by what is actually produced here, in what volume and for whom. On the contrary, we think that this is discrimination against companies and importers who import far more than the EU can produce. If any potential anti-dumping tariffs are higher than 20%, it will result in a degradation and delay in deliveries to the European market, as well as the quality of the products, due to the fact that neighbouring states today do not have such capacities and are already booked due to the tariff war between the USA and China.
Nowadays, when transport costs from Asia are rising and the added restrictions are still in place due to Covid-19, which will probably last for at least a few more years, the whole investigation is unfortunate. We need to meet our commitments to our customers who are also producers and with whom we have contracted prices several years in advance. In the case of an anti-dumping investigation, this threatens not only the importers but also the producers of these products and will again harm a company in the EU.
Another issue regarding the anti-dumping investigation is regarding the communication from the EU. The announcement of the investigation was made just before Christmas, when a lot of companies would have already been on holiday. Also, no one knows when and what will come into effect; what the provisional duties will be; or if there will be any at all. If we have a container at sea, which is delayed, will we be charged back these duties? Do we have a chance to defend ourselves?
Should anti-dumping be reintroduced, we hope that the EU will protect us against third-party fraud, where as an importer you will not be able to verify physically, especially during the Covid-19 time, whether a manufacturer in a separate country is producing the goods or whether they bought them from China. Therefore, we think that if an anti-dumping tariff was introduced, then a value of up to 20% would be acceptable. This would stop transhipment as it would not be worth it for third parties and the importer would be protected by paying this duty immediately and not having to worry about additional assessments 3 or more years back. That is why we hope that common sense will prevail.
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.