On the 16 September, the Official Journal of the European Union published official notification of the European Commission's provisional anti-dumping measures on glass fibre products originating in China. Import duties of 43.6% came into effect on 17 September for a provisional period of 6 months.

Destabilisation of the European composites industry

In a joint statement issued on 20 September, the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) and the European Plastics Converters Association (EuPC) said:

"Following this development, the European industry deeply regrets the Commission decision aimed at destabilisation of the European composites industry. The impact on the users of glass fibre products across Europe could reach highly negative outcomes at national and company level. The imposition of protectionist measures are doomed to lead to a significant slowdown of composites manufacturing production over the coming months, exacerbated by increase of high prices of glass fibre on the European market."

EuCIA believes that at the beginning of 2011 European manufacturers of composite products could face a 20% increase in glass fibre prices, without taking into effect the provisional import duties.

“This is a sad day for the European industry," noted Alexandre Dangis, Managing Director of Brussels based EuPC. "Most of the European users are small and medium sized companies (SMEs) with limited financial capabilities and few employees. I am receiving a high number of complaints from the users shocked about the Commission decision which is targeting employment reduction and instead is protecting the interests of multinational companies, mainly based in the US. I am questioning if the European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht is not supporting the US - China trade war with this decision. Moreover, this decision will put a stop on innovation in these sectors which contribute most to our climate change challenges.”

Decreased competitiveness

According to EuCIA and EuPC, the provisional anti-dumping measures will affect the business development of over 10 000 companies across Europe, employing an estimated 150 000 workers in the region. They warn that the EC's decision will lead to decreased competitiveness of composites materials in favour of traditional materials such as steel and aluminium.

“During the last months we warned the European Commission about the impacts of provisional import duties on users," says Volker Fritz, President og EuCIA. "During the next months, the warning will become a bleak reality. Our industry will go through several transformations: prices will go up, shortage of glass fibre products will be resented, unemployment will increase, and the power to innovate will be significantly reduced. The users will not be able to absorb this exorbitant price increase.” 

In July 2010, EuCIA issued a position paper outlining what it sees as the potential impacts of anti-dumping measures (see Download).

Comments

EuCIA and EuPC state that several of the reasons mentioned in the official notification leading to the provisional measures are neither justified nor representative of the SMEs in the European composites industry.

The official notification specifies that interested parties have 1 month to make their views known to the Commission in writing to be heard orally or to comment on the regulation. EuCIA encourages the industry to use this option and have their views heard. During the upcoming period, the European composites and plastics converters industries will continue to raise awareness and show the results of the impacts felt by the European users and the overall impact on the economy and the employment.

Early in 2011, Member States representatives will meet to discuss and vote for or against definitive anti-dumping measures on glass fibre products from China.

EuCIA

EuCIA is a Brussels-based association representing European national compositea industry associations as well as industry specific groups. EuCIA represents approximately 10 000 companies in 11 countries across Europe.

EuCIA has been a Sector Group of EuPC since 2007.

EuPC

EuPC is an EU-level trade Association, based in Brussels, representing European plastics converters (processors) –  manufacturers of plastic semi-finished and finished products for a wide range of industrial and consumer markets.

EuPC now totals about 51 European plastics converting national and European industry associations, representing close to 50 000 companies (mainly small and medium sized companies), employing more than 1.6 million people, to create a turnover in excess of € 280 billion per year.