Shimano may appeal over dumping ruling

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Series Details Vol.7, No.40, 1.11.01, p17
Publication Date 31/10/2001
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Date: 31/10/01

By Laurence Frost

SHIMANO, the Japanese sporting goods manufacturer, says it is not ruling out an appeal against controversial EU antidumping duties imposed against its bicycle gears last week.

European bicycle makers have condemned the 11.3 levy on Shimano hub gears, which they say will increase their costs, damage competitiveness and force production outside the EU. "Over the next ten days we'll be talking to our customers," said Satoshi Yuasa, managing director of Shimano's European arm. He said it was too early to assess the prospect of a challenge.

But sources familiar with the case say there may be scope for an appeal based on the case's handling by the European Commission and the Belgian EU presidency. The Commission launched its dumping investigation in July last year following a complaint from US gears producer SRAM, which has a factory in Germany.

In order to apply duties, the executive has to provide conclusive evidence of dumping - selling goods in export markets at prices below domestic levels to squeeze competitors out of the market - within 15 months of launching an investigation.

Time was running out as Pascal Lamy, EU trade chief, put the proposal to agriculture ministers at the last EU ministerial meeting before the deadline for a decision on 26 October. During the meeting, Italy is said to have expressed "extreme displeasure" with the way the case had been handled by the Commission, demanding more time for discussions.

But Belgium controversially insisted on an antidumping vote by the farm ministers, who approved the duties by eight votes to seven. The Commission has pursued its case against Shimano with determination, deciding to press ahead last March despite being forced to drop planned temporary duties that were supported by just two countries, Belgium and Ireland. Shimano's European prices dipped below those in Japan in 1999-2000 as the euro weakened against the Yen. But the firm claims the Commission's own research shows that Shimano prices undercut only one type of SRAM gears, accounting for around 0.4 of output - undermining the charge that it damaged its rival's business.

Lamy's spokesman, Anthony Gooch, said claims of mishandling were unjustified. "The Commission services do a very thorough job when they undertake antidumping investigations," he said. "This is no exception. All the correct procedures were followed in this case."

Shimano, the Japanese sporting goods manufacturer, says it is not ruling out an appeal against controversial EU anti-dumping duties imposed against its bicycle gears.

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