China opens anti-dumping investigation into EU report on pork imports

China has opened an anti-dumping investigation into imported pork and its by-products from the European Union, a move that appears to mainly target Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark in response to restrictions on electric vehicle exports.

The investigation, announced by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce 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 investigation starts on June 17.

The reason for this was a complaint filed by the China Animal Husbandry Association on behalf of the domestic pork industry on June 6, the ministry said.

Following the European Commission’s announcement on June 12 that it would impose anti-subsidy duties of up to 38.1 percent on imported Chinese cars from July, global food companies are on high alert for retaliatory tariffs from China.

The state-backed Global Times newspaper first reported late last month that Chinese companies planned to ask authorities to open an anti-dumping investigation into certain European pork products, citing an unidentified “business insider.”

That was followed by a second report in the same outlet on June 8, calling on officials to investigate European dairy imports.

Chinese authorities have previously hinted at possible retaliation through comments in state media and interviews with industry figures.

A European Commission spokesperson said the bloc was not concerned about China opening its investigation and told reporters the EU would intervene appropriately to ensure the probe complied with all relevant World Trade Organization rules.

However, Spain called for negotiations to avoid tariffs on pork exports to China.

According to customs data, the EU will account for more than half of the pork worth around $6 billion that China imported in 2023, about a quarter of which came from Spain alone.

In second and third place, the Netherlands and Denmark exported pork products worth $620 million and $550 million respectively to China last year.

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao traveled to Spain earlier this month to meet court officials before the Commission announced its decision on whether Chinese electric vehicle makers benefit from distortive state subsidies.

“It won’t be the first time that an investigation announced in a given jurisdiction has been met with the same response, so in view of the EU electric vehicle investigation this is no surprise,” said Jens Eskelund, President of the Chamber of Commerce of the European Union. China, said.

“Free and open markets depend on rules-based trading practices,” he added.

Growing concerns about Chinese industrial overcapacity flooding the EU with cheap products including electric cars are opening a new front in the West’s trade war with Beijing, which began with Washington’s 2018 tariffs.

EU trade policy is becoming increasingly protective against the global ramifications of China’s production-oriented, debt-driven development model.

Governments typically impose anti-dumping duties on imported goods if they suspect the item in question is being sold for less than it costs to produce, to protect domestic businesses.

European pork producers should be able to continue exporting to China tariff-free while the investigation is ongoing, pending a decision and tariff announcement from the Chinese side.

The Commerce Department said the investigation should be completed by June 17, 2025, but could be extended for another six months if necessary.

Chinese industrial production in May lags behind expectations

Industrial production in China fell short of expectations in May and a slowdown in the real estate sector showed no signs of easing, increasing pressure on Beijing to support growth, although retail sales exceeded expectations thanks to a holiday boost.

Industrial production grew 5.6 percent in May from a year earlier, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed, a slowdown from 6.7 percent in April and below expectations for an increase of 6.0 percent according to a poll of Reuters analysts.

However, retail sales, a measure of consumption, rose 3.7 percent year-on-year in May, an acceleration from a 2.3 percent increase in April and the fastest growth since February.

– Reuters

China and South Korea are holding their first security talks since 2015

China and South Korea will hold their first high-level security talks in about nine years, with their talks in Seoul expected to coincide with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first trip to North Korea since 2000.

The talks between vice foreign ministers and lower-level defense officials will take place on Tuesday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The two countries will exchange views on bilateral relations, Korean Peninsula issues and other interesting topics.”

The meeting follows talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol last month on the sidelines of a rare trilateral summit also involving Japan.


First print: June 18, 2024 | 12:22 pm IST