Six months EC fair trade measure for West Midlands ceramics manufacturers

The Telegraph reports that retailers and importers in Britain, who opposed a fair deal for producers in the dairy sector, now oppose anti-dumping* measures in the ceramics industry.

In October, West Midlands MEP Phil Bennion met a delegation of ceramics manufacturers in Stoke on Trent, including Kevin Oakes, CEO of Steelite International and representatives from Johnson’s ceramic tiles and Dudsons. He then lobbied for the EC to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of ceramic tableware and kitchenware from China, which is now the biggest manufacturer of household ceramic goods in the world.

The ceramics firms claimed that that huge quantities of cheap Chinese products were being sold in the EU at artificially low prices and this was confirmed during a nine-month Commission investigation.

During Adrian Goldberg’s WM Radio programme today it was pointed out that high tariffs are imposed by the Chinese on imported goods & calls were made for a level playing field.

EC duties have now been imposed, ranging from 17.6% to 31.2% for Chinese companies that co-operated with the investigation and 58.8% duty on all other Chinese firms exporting cups, plates, saucers and other tableware and kitchenware into Britain and the EU.

These measures will also benefit newcomers to the industry such as flux, a firm designing and manufacturing ceramics, set up in 2010 by Professor David Sanderson and students at Staffordshire University.

Phil Bennion said:

“The evidence is overwhelming, China has been flooding the European market with goods at an artificially low price, in a way calculated to destroy European ceramics producers . . . “There will be a small rise in the price of Chinese tableware in the shops as a result but this only corrects the unfairly low price the goods were being sold at, which would only last until most EU manufacturers had either gone bankrupt or been taken over by Chinese companies.

“But it is only a provisional move. The Council of Ministers of member states has six months to decide to confirm the anti-dumping measures and extend them up to five years. If the Council of Ministers refuses to back the move, the extra tariffs will have to be repaid to Chinese manufacturers. That would be a travesty, it is quite clear to me that World Trade Organisation rules on illegal dumping have been broken”.

The decision notice which recorded the investigation in detail, noted a lack of basic accounting records and found clear evidence that the dumped imports from China intensified the effect of the economic downturn and that the Union industry has been unable to recover and regain significant sales volumes and market share throughout the period considered.

Phil Bennion’s account may be read here:


*Dumping: a form of predatory pricing – selling a product or service at a very low price, intending to drive competitors out of the market, or create barriers to entry for potential new competitors. It is legal under World Trade Organization rules unless the foreign country can reliably show the negative effects of the exporting firm on the domestic producers.
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One Response to Six months EC fair trade measure for West Midlands ceramics manufacturers

  1. […] Midlands MEP Phillip Bennion, whose work was featured on this site last year, has continued to work with Kevin Oakes and other ceramics manufacturers. Earlier this […]

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