Posted 06 Feb 2007 06:22
The Chinese government imposed anti-dumping tariffs on potato starch imports from the European Union yesterday after a one-year investigation.
China's commerce ministry yesterday said it would begin to levy punitive duties of between 17 percent and 35 percent.
"The move will save our industry from disaster," said Zhou Qingfeng, director of the Chinese commission on potato starch.
He said less than 30 percent of the country's potato starch production capacity was in operation in 2005 due to low-priced EU products, but it increased to about 60 percent last year after the preliminary ruling was made.
The price of potato starch went from 4,600 yuan to 4,800 yuan per ton last year after the preliminary ruling, from less than 4,000 yuan per ton in 2005.
Potato starch is widely used in a number of industries including food processing, pharmaceuticals, textiles and feed.
In December 2005, 17 Chinese starch manufacturers from Heilongjiang, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region filed a petition to the commerce ministry against their EU rivals. They claimed that the European players were selling potato starch to China at below cost.
The commerce ministry launched an investigation last February covering all imports for 2005.
After a six-month investigation, the ministry decided last August to impose primary tariffs on imports from the European Union.
German, French and Dutch companies responded the charge.
"It is China's first dumping charge against an agricultural product," the ministry said in a statement on its website.
According to Zhou, the case will benefit millions of Chinese potato farmers in 12 provinces and autonomous regions, as the average potato price increased to 0.48 yuan per kilogram last year from 0.34 yuan in 2005.
An agricultural institution in Yunan Province said local farmers would have suffered losses of some 120 million yuan if the anti-dumping charge had not been imposed.
Zhou called on Chinese firms from other industries to defend their interests in accordance with World Trade Organization rules.
Chinese companies are subject to the most anti-dumping tariffs worldwide, yet seldom impose duties on foreign rivals.
Zhou said his commission was formed to handle the potato starch case and for "the whole industry in China united together".
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