EU lowers duties on China screws after WTO complaint

BRUSSELS, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The European Union said onWednesday it had reduced the duties imposed on screws and boltsfrom China after the World Trade Organisation found flaws in theway they were initially calculated.

The EU imposed tariffs in 2009 ranging from 26.5 percent to85 percent, affecting up to 200 Chinese companies sellingcomponents widely used for cars, white goods and machinery inthe EU. The imports were worth some 575 million euros ($742million) in 2007.

But the WTO found in 2011 that, among other failings, the EUhad been wrong to impose the duties countrywide and it also tookinto account that domestic producers the EU had consideredaffected only made up 27 percent of EU output.

This was deemed a victory for China -- the main target ofanti-dumping measures, or duties on imports judged to be soldfor less than they cost at home.

China is a subject in 21 of the European Commission's 41ongoing investigations into subsidies and dumping.

Trade experts said the WTO ruling meant anti-dumping dutiesneeded to be set for individual companies, not countrywide forChina and other WTO members such as Vietnam and Cuba, consideredby the EU to lack free market economies.

The EU said on Wednesday in its official journal that it hadgiven Chinese exporters the chance to be treated on anindividual basis, bu t said it had updated its reference pricefor iron and steel fasteners, based on information from Indianproducers.

Accordingly it cut the anti-dumping duties to between 22.9and 74.1 percent, with three producers facing no duties.

The latter are the Chinese units of European companies --Italy's Agrati, Sweden's Bulten and Celo of Spain.

($1=0.7754 euros)

(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Jane Merriman)

((philip.blenkinsop@thomsonreuters.com)(+32 2 287 6838)(ReutersMessaging: philip.blenkinsop.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))