The price in Europe of tough polyester yarn used to make automotive textile parts such as seatbelts and airbags could rise following the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers ordering an anti-dumping duty on exports from China.

These 9.8% tariffs will cover Chinese exports to the EU of ‘high tenacity yarn’ used by auto manufacturers, including monofilament of less than 67 decitex. It is also used to strengthen tyres.

Plans to impose similar duties on this product exported from South Korea and Taiwan were dropped however. The duties follow an investigation by the European Commission into complaints from CIRFS, the European Man-made Fibres Association that its members were losing trade to below cost exports from these three Asian countries.

The commission agreed, as far as China is concerned, and asked ministers to approve the protective duties. This was despite claims the auto sector and other industrial final users could suffer from their textile product suppliers raising prices.

In a report to ministers, the commission argued “alternative supply sources exist which should allow [manufacturers to] complete product ranges”, noting European factories for the yarn were being reopened. And it claimed “the relatively low duty level should not prohibit users” from using Chinese exports. Indeed, some Chinese exporters will have reduced duty levels of around 5%.

This was contested by some unnamed European textile manufacturers who claimed “the negative impact of the anti-dumping measures on their profitability had been underestimated”. The commission also noted claimed “difficulties in passing on the cost increase to their customers” and finding “alternative sources of supply.”

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