The European Union will investigate whether imports of Chinese plywood are breaking its anti-dumping rules, the latest case involving China's booming exports to Europe, the bloc's Official Journal said on Thursday. Cut-price Chinese imports of okoume plywood -- used in the construction, furniture and other sectors -- were hit with EU anti-dumping duties of up to 66.7% in 2004 after a probe that was opened by the executive European Commission.
Since then, European producers have complained that similar Chinese imports, defined as redwood plywood and not subject to the duties, have soared -- raising suspicions that Chinese exporters may be unfairly sidestepping the extra tariffs.
"The applicant (EU producers) has provided sufficient evidence that the scope of the existing measures is no longer sufficient to counteract the dumping which is causing the injury," the Journal said in its latest edition.
Commission trade regulators would now send questionnaires to all parties involved -- the European plywood industry, importers, users, Chinese plywood exporters as well as the Chinese authorities -- with replies due within 40 days.
EU producers most affected by the growing Chinese imports are located in France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
EU and China have locked horns over several anti-dumping cases recently, chief among them Chinese leather shoes, as the fast-growing Asian economy poses a challenge to a growing number of sectors of European manufacturing.
The Commission's investigation will run for 15 months.