China's Anti-Dumping Inquiry Targets EU Pork Amid Trade Tensions

China has launched an anti-dumping investigation into EU pork imports, particularly affecting Spain, the Netherlands, and Denmark, in response to EU restrictions on Chinese electric vehicles. This move, initiated by the China Animal Husbandry Association, signals rising trade tensions and potential retaliatory tariffs. The probe will be completed by June 2025.

Reuters | Updated: 17-06-2024 16:35 IST | Created: 17-06-2024 16:35 IST
China's Anti-Dumping Inquiry Targets EU Pork Amid Trade Tensions
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China has opened an anti-dumping investigation into imported pork and its by-products from the European Union, a step that appears mainly aimed at Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark, in response to curbs on its electric vehicle exports. The investigation announced by China's commerce ministry on Monday will focus on pork intended for human consumption, such as fresh, cold and frozen whole cuts, as well as pig intestines, bladders and stomachs. The probe will begin on June 17.

It was prompted by a complaint submitted by the China Animal Husbandry Association on June 6 on behalf of the domestic pork industry, the ministry said. Following the European Commission's June 12 announcement that it would impose anti-subsidy duties of up to 38.1% on imported Chinese cars from July, global food companies have been on high alert for retaliatory tariffs from China.

The state-backed Global Times newspaper first reported late last month that Chinese firms planned to ask authorities to open an anti-dumping investigation into some European pork products, citing an unidentified "business insider". That was followed by a second report in the same outlet on June 8 requesting officials look into European dairy imports.

Chinese authorities have previously hinted at possible retaliatory measures through state media commentaries and interviews with industry figures. A spokesperson for the European Commission said the bloc was not worried about China opening its investigation and told reporters the EU would intervene appropriately to ensure the investigation complied with all relevant World Trade Organisation rules.

Spain, however, called for negotiations to avoid tariffs on its pork exports to China. The EU accounts for more than half the roughly $6 billion worth of pork China imported in 2023, according to customs data, around a quarter of which was from Spain alone.

Second- and third-ranking, the Netherlands and Denmark last year exported to China pork products worth $620 million and $550 million respectively. China's commerce minister Wang Wentao earlier this month travelled to Spain to court officials ahead of the Commission announcing its decision on whether Chinese electric vehicle producers benefit from distortive state subsidies.

"It will not be the first time that a probe announced in one jurisdiction is responded to in kind, so in view of the EU electric vehicles probe, this is not a surprise," Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said. "Free and open markets rely on rules-based trade practices," he added.

Growing alarm over Chinese industrial overcapacity flooding the EU with cheap products, including EVs, is opening a new front in the West's trade war with Beijing, which began with Washington's import tariffs in 2018. EU trade policy is turning increasingly protective against the global ramifications of China's production-focused, debt-driven development model.

Governments typically place anti-dumping duties on imported goods when they suspect the item in question is being sold for less than it cost to produce in order to protect domestic firms. European pork producers should be able to keep exporting to China tariff-free while the investigation is underway, pending a decision and a tariff announcement by the Chinese side.

The commerce ministry said that the investigation should be completed by June 17, 2025, but could be extended by another six months if required. (Additional reporting by Albee Zhang and Ella Cao; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Mark Potter and Barbara Lewis)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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