The European Union fired a warning shot at China over its global trade ambitions with an unprecedented tariff decision to counter Chinese subsidies to exporters.
For the first time, the EU on Monday took aim at alleged market-distorting aid granted by a country to exporters located in another state. To date, such European duties have focused only on subsidies provided by the country where the exporters are based.
“It’s a landmark case that could lead to many more similar ones,” said Agatha Kratz, an associate director at Rhodium Group who leads research on EU-China relations and Chinese commercial diplomacy. “Chinese state support is in fact found widely beyond China’s borders, with distortive effects on EU and other foreign stakeholders.”
The dispute involves EU imports from Egypt of glass fiber fabrics, an industrial good used in everything from wind turbines to sports equipment. The two Egyptian exporters of such fabrics are subsidiaries of China Jushi Co. and Zhejiang Hengshi Fiberglass Fabrics Co.
Jushi Egypt for Fiberglass Industry SAE and Hengshi Egypt Fiberglass Fabrics SAE are based in the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, which is part of China’s controversial “Belt and Road” global infrastructure-development plan.