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China firms seek anti-dumping probe of EU pork imports, ramping up tensions

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 A woman selects pork products at a supermarket in Beijing, June 12. AFP-Yonhap

A woman selects pork products at a supermarket in Beijing, June 12. AFP-Yonhap

Chinese firms have formally applied for an anti-dumping probe into pork imports from the European Union, the state-backed Global Times reported, escalating tensions after the bloc imposed anti-subsidy duties on Chinese-made electric vehicles.

The move opens a new front in bilateral strains in one of the world's key trading relationships after Brussels slapped tariffs of up to 38.1 percent on EVs made in China to shield its auto industry from competition.

China imported $6 billion worth of pork in 2023, including offal, with the EU accounting for more than half, customs data showed.

The Global Times report, posted on X, gave no details of the requested anti-dumping probe, and it was unclear which pork products would be targeted.

Pig parts that are not favored in Europe such as feet, ears and offal are popular among Chinese consumers, providing a valuable and important market for Europe.

"Much of the imports from Europe are not muscle meat ... If also (offal), China would need to import more from other countries where (offal) is not consumed in the local market," said a livestock analyst who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Global food companies are on tenterhooks for possible retaliatory measures after the EU said this week it would impose tariffs on Chinese-made EVs. In previous trade spats, China has been known to target food products.

Spain was China's top supplier of pork last year, followed by Brazil and the United States. Other major suppliers are France, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Chinese firms reserve the right to submit applications to prompt anti-subsidy and anti-dumping inquiries into European dairy and pork imports, its commerce ministry said on Thursday.

Chinese companies also plan to request anti-subsidy investigations into EU dairy imports, the Global Times newspaper reported last week, which may hurt major suppliers the Netherlands, France and Germany.

On Thursday, China said it would take "all necessary measures" to safeguard its interests in the wake of the EU tariff decision, which is due to take effect from July.

The EV tariffs drew a strong rebuke from China as well as European and Chinese automakers, with industry insiders saying both sides have reasons to strike a deal in the months ahead, as the EU process allows for review. (Reuters)


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