The European Union has applied anti-subsidy countervailing duties (CVD) ranging from 3.2 to 16.5 percent on imports of certain stainless steel fasteners from India. The status of the parallel anti-dumping investigation appears, however, much less conclusive.
The European Commission initiated parallel anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations in May 2011 on stainless steel fasteners originating from India and falling within the CN codes 7318 12 10, 7318 14 10, 7318 15 30, 7318 15 51, 7318 15 61 and 7318 15 70.
On 11th February 2012 EU regulation 115/2012 was published applying provisional CVDs for a four month period, by the end of which the Commission will need to announce its definitive decision. The 16.5 percent duty is applied to all exporters from India, with the exception of Agarwal Fasteners (11.7%), Raajratna Ventures (13%), Viraj Proflles (3.2%), and co-operating non-sampled companies Kundan Industries and Lakshmi Precision Screws (13.6%).
In a complex investigation the Commission considered a diverse range of subsidy mechanisms operating at both national and state levels. The varying subsidies applicable to the different companies determined the subsidy margins and hence specific CVD percentages.
The anti-subsidy investigation found volumes of imports of the cited products had grown 65% between 2008 and the investigated period (April 2010 and March 2012) - during which 24,073 tonnes came from India. Indian stainless fasteners by then held an EU market share of 18.3%, compared with 12.1% in 2008. In the same period, production by EU manufacturers decreased by a quarter to an output in the IP of 51,800 tonnes. The market share of the total Union industry fell to 36.6% from 46.5% in 2008 and employment in EU producers fell by a quarter. By contrast, EU consumption of stainless steel fasteners increased by 9%.
The Commission concluded that the EU industry had suffered material injury and that there was a causal link between the injury and the impact of subsidised imports from India.
Anti-dumping Duties in Question
There has not been a formal announcement on the status of the parallel anti-dumping investigation. The Commission is known to have written to interested parties at the end of January explaining that it had not found sufficiently persuasive evidence of dumping and was, therefore, minded to terminate the anti-dumping investigation without applying duties.
The investigation reportedly found no evidence of dumping on the part of Viraj Profiles Limited, which accounted for 87 percent of exports to the EU during the IP. Other Indian exporters were considered to be dumping but their share of the EU market was insufficient to establish a causal relationship with injury to the EU industry. In the absence of that causal link the Commission has told interested parties it considers anti-dumping measures unnecessary and that it is minded to terminate the investigation. The Commission has informed the complainant and other interested parties of its findings and sought comments, required by mid March.
If termination of the anti-dumping case is confirmed it will represent a significant and bitter blow to European stainless steel producers, which see the investigation findings as clear proof of the damage they are sustaining as a result of the escalating tonnage and low prices of imports from India. The CVDs alone are unlikely to make a significant difference to the adverse situation for EU manufacturers.