EU lowers duties on China screws after WTO complaint

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

The EU imposed tariffs in 2009 ranging from 26.5 percent to 85 percent, affecting up to 200 Chinese companies selling components widely used for cars, white goods and machinery in the EU. The imports were worth some 575 million euros ($742 million) in 2007.

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

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

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

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

The EU said on Wednesday in its official journal that it had given Chinese exporters the chance to be treated on an individual basis, bu t said it had updated its reference price for iron and steel fasteners, based on information from Indian producers.

Accordingly it cut the anti-dumping duties to between 22.9 and 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)

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