Importers of Chinese crockery face a duty hike of between 17.6% and 58.8% following the introduction of an ‘anti-dumping’ tax by the European Union.
The levy will be imposed for the next six months and then reviewed in May to see whether it should be made permanent.
The duties range from 17.6 to 31.2% for around 400 Chinese producers or groups who cooperated with the investigation and represent over 60% of Chinese exports to the EU.
A residual duty of 58.8% applies to all other exporting Chinese companies.
While commercial suppliers that bring in Chinese tableware will be stung by the news, there are others who welcome the move with open arms.
Max Dudson, CEO of Dudson, which owns ceramics manufacturing facilties in the UK and France, said: “We fully support this legislation and have been lobbying strongly for the imposition of the duty. Quite simply, we have been seeking a level playing field in which to do business.”
An EU investigation found that producers in China were operating at an unfair advantage, enabling them to sell into the European and UK markets at “artificially low” prices. It was discovered that factories do not pay full price for assets, raw materials and fuels, which are being subsidised by their Government and do not operate their business in accordance with international trading laws.
“This means producers across the world cannot compete on price, and a tax levy will go some way towards allowing us to compete on equal terms,” said Kevin Oakes, chief executive of Steelite International.
“We will continue to lobby at UK and European Government level on this issue with a view to extending the levy period.”