The complaint filed by the European Union against China is over Beijing's anti-dumping system for imports of steel fasteners, the EU said on May 10. "We have asked China for consultations about provisional anti-dumping measures on steel fasteners," the official at the EU's mission to the WTO in Geneva said.
Consultations are the first step in the WTO's dispute system, allowing the two parties up to 60 days to find an amicable settlement.
The EU is challenging the way China calculates the extent of dumping on steel fasteners such as nuts and bolts for dumping and the resulting penalty taxes imposed on imports from the EU.
Dumping occurs when exports are sold at below the cost on their home market. The 153 WTO member states have a right to levy extra tax.
China, the world's biggest producer of screws, nuts, bolts and washers, targeted the EU in similar complaint last year over penalties imposed by Brussels on allegedly dumped Chinese-made steel fasteners.
The European Union is China's biggest export market for fasteners, with imports worth 575 million euros (US$762 million) in 2007, according to the Jiaxing Association of Chinese Fastener Producers.
The dispute last year arose after a final European Commission decision in January 2009 to impose anti-dumping tariffs on imports of some Chinese steel and iron fasteners, ranging from 26.5% to as high as 85%.
China retaliated by launching its own anti-dumping probe into imports of screws and bolts made in the European Union.
EU-China trade has exploded in recent years, making the EU the top destination for Chinese exports while China is Europe's biggest trade partner after the United States. It has also led to an accumulation of disputes between the two sides at the Geneva-based global trade body, notably Chinese shoes and certain raw materials.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010