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EU extends duties in Chinese imports of ironing boards

European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht speaks during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels June 4, 2013. REUTE
European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht speaks during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels June 4, 2013. REUTE

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has renewed anti-dumping duties on ironing boards imported from China for a further five years, but lifted corresponding tariffs on the product from Ukraine.

The extension, announced on Tuesday, follows an appeal by three EU iron board makers against the potential ending of measures taken in 2007. They contended that Chinese producers in particular would resume dumping, selling at below cost or fair market price.

The EU market for ironing boards is worth around 100 million euros ($131.9 million), a tiny fraction of the 290 billion euros of goods imported from China, but the extension of measures is a further irritant to Chinese producers and the Beijing government.

EU-China trade tensions are high. The EU last month began imposing duties on imports of solar panels from China, worth 21 billion euros in 2011, prompting Beijing to launch an investigation into EU wine.

For ironing boards, Chinese producers had a 40-45 percent share of the EU market, with annual sales of some 10 million boards, but this fell to 15-20 percent in 2011 after duties were imposed.

The notice in the Europe Union's official journal on Tuesday said the Chinese were still undercutting the prices of EU makers by 20 percent.

It concluded that a repeal of anti-dumping measures would result in increased Chinese exports at dumped pricing levels.

For Ukraine, with single producer Eurogold Industries Ltd, its share of the market actually rose to 10 from 8 percent, even with duties, principally because Chinese competition eased.

Duties were originally set in 2007 at 9.9 percent for imports from Ukraine and up to 38.1 percent for those from China. In 2010 the EU cut the Ukraine tariff to 7.7 percent and introduced a new top rate for Chinese producers of 42.3 percent.

The three EU producers bringing the complaint were Italy's Colombo New Scal SpA, Poland's Rorets Polska Spolka and Vale Mill (Rochdale) Ltd of Britain.

($1 = 0.7580 euros)

(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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