In 2015, the European Commission imposed definitive anti-dumping duties on imports of citric acid from China by implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/82. In early 2016, the anti-dumping measures were then extended to imports of citric acid from Malaysia.
Since then, companies have had to pay a definitive anti-dumping duty of up to 42.7% on imports of citric acid from China and Malaysia.
However, certain companies can also benefit from reduced duty rates if the correct documentation is submitted.
The anti-dumping measures on imports from China should expire at the end of January 2020. The Commission has now announced its intention to review the expiry in the framework of an expiry review. During the period of the review, the anti-dumping measures will be maintained.
Anti-dumping duty on citric acid
The product concerned is citric acid (including tri-sodium citrate dihydrate) falling within tariff headings 2918 14 00 and 2918 15 00 (TARIC code 2918 15 00 11 and 2918 15 00 19).
Expiry review extends anti-dumping duties
The European Commission received a complaint in autumn 2019 from two European companies representing 100% of the total Union production of citric acid. The request asks the Commission to carry out an investigation into the possible extension of the anti-dumping measures in force.
The producers are concerned that the expiry of the measures could lead to a continuation of dumping and further damage to EU industry.
The companies argued that there are distortions in China, in particular in the raw material, petrochemical and chemical sectors, which have an impact on the production and sale of citric acid. Furthermore, they argued that there is currently unused production capacity in China which, if measures were allowed to lapse, would lead to increased imports of citric acid from China into the EU at dumped prices.
Furthermore, the anti-dumping measures in force would be responsible for the recovery of the European industry. If the measures were not extended, the Union industry would likely suffer further injury.
The Commission considers that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that this is the case. An expiry review will now examine the need for the continuation of anti-dumping duties on the product concerned.
The investigation is expected to be concluded within 12 to 15 months from the date of disclosure. Under certain conditions, it was also possible to participate in the investigation, in particular as an interested party. During the investigation period, companies must continue to pay the anti-dumping duties in force.
At the end of the review, the Commission will then decide whether the existing anti-dumping measures should be maintained or repealed as planned. On the other hand, there are no plans to change the anti-dumping measures in force.
Circumvention of anti-dumping duties on citric acid
The expiry review was preceded by a number of anti-dumping measures.
By implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/706 of 30.04.2015, the European Commission initiated on its own initiative an investigation into the alleged circumvention of the anti-dumping measures and the registration of the product.
The anti-circumvention investigation concerned imports of citric acid originating in China. Imports of citric acid from Malaysia should be made subject to registration. It was irrelevant whether they were declared as originating in Malaysia or not.
In any event, if there is already a legitimate request for back-payment of anti-dumping duties on citric acid from China, this obligation must be respected.
Illegal circumvention or evasion of anti-dumping duties by declaring the wrong tariff headings, for example, regularly constitutes a customs offence. The result is a criminal investigation by the customs investigation office, often against the parties involved and the management.