China asks WTO to rule on trade dispute with EU

GENEVA: China on Monday asked the World Trade Organisation to rule on a dispute with the European Union over anti-dumping measures imposed by Brussels on imports of Chinese-made screws and bolts.

"The Chinese government instructed its mission to ... (request the) establishment of a panel to examine the dispute concerning the EC anti-dumping action on imports of fasteners from China," the Chinese mission to the WTO in Geneva said in a statement.

Beijing sought consultations with Brussels on the issue in July but it said the discussions "failed to lead to a satisfactory resolution of the matter."

The latest move marked an escalation in the dispute following a final European Commission decision in January to impose hefty tariffs on imports of some Chinese steel and iron fasteners, ranging from 26.5 percent to as high as 85 percent.

China is the world's biggest producer of screws, nuts, bolts and washers, while the European Union is its biggest market.

The EU imported 575 million euros (762 million dollars) worth of Chinese fasteners in 2007, according to the Jiaxing Association of Chinese Fastener Producers.

"The Chinese government is determined ... to safeguard the legitimate interests of Chinese industries and to build up a healthy trading environment," the Chinese mission statement said.