Stainless steel giant suffers defeat in EU court
Stainless steel giant suffers defeat in EU court

28 February 2023 – The Tsingshan Group has suffered a first defeat in an EU court in its request to lift market protection measures against stainless steel imports into the EU. Stainless steel stocks continue to fall in China. Chinese workers sue Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park for human rights violations. And Trafigura on the verge of its next deal with a certain flavour?

Failure in court for the Tsingshan Group

The Chinese Tsingshan Group, represented by its Indonesian company PT Indonesia Ruipu Nickel and Chrome Alloy (IRNC), filed a lawsuit last year against the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/433 of 15 March 2022 imposing definitive countervailing duties on imports of stainless steel cold-rolled flat products originating in India and Indonesia and amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/2012 imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty and definitively collecting the provisional duty imposed on imports of stainless steel cold-rolled flat products originating in India and Indonesia, and demanded the repeal of the measure in the lawsuit.

Leave for intervene dismissed

The European Court of Justice has now issued its first ruling on this matter. A European interest group wanted to take action on behalf of IRNC in the case and had filed an application for leave to intervene. The European Commission (EC) filed an objection to this application to intervene. The European Court of Justice has now granted the EC’s objection and dismissed the application for leave to intervene with reference to the Rules of Procedure of the General Court and the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Level Playing Field in the EU only for desired political actors?

Once again, representatives of the interests of European importers have been dismissed by the European Court of Justice as not having jurisdiction, with the help of flimsy and obviously far-fetched justifications. This once again underlines the European two-tier society, which we have already criticised several times and which is being pushed by the European Commission and the European Court of Justice. If these institutions have their way, there seems to be a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD only for desirable political actors in the European Union.

Chinese stocks of 300 series stainless steel continue to fall

Stocks of 300 series stainless steel in China continue to fall. The market is optimistic about rising demand from home and abroad. Slowing inflation, the lifting of pandemic restrictions in China and falling energy costs in Europe are not the only factors driving demand for stainless steel in China. Demand is also reported to be continuing to rise in Taiwan despite high raw material costs.

Litigation filed, Indonesian nickel industry still restless

Several Chinese workers have filed a lawsuit against the PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) in Central Sulawesi province, which is spread over several companies and majority owned by the Tsingshan Group, for human rights violations.

According to their lawyers, the workers have suffered significant physical, psychological and financial harm. An allegation that no longer seems to be an isolated case, culminating in two deaths during a workers’ uprising at an Indonesian nickel smelter.

Nickel mining comes under increasing criticism

In the region, which is one of the most economically important regions in Indonesia, contracts worth more than 15 billion dollars have been signed in the last three years related to nickel mining. More than 100,000 workers are employed in the Morowali Industrial Park. The working conditions there have long been criticised, in addition to the massive damage to the environment caused by the mining and processing of nickel ores.

Trafigura – May be legal, but with a certain taste

According to media reports and unnamed insider sources, Trafigura seems to want to buy large quantities of aluminium from the Russian group Rusal and sell it on to China. The commodity trader had recently attracted a lot of attention after falling victim to a fraud involving nickel products, which caused damages of more than half a billion US dollars.

Legal, but with a certain taste?

The fact that information about the possible deal between Trafigura and Rusal was leaked could be detrimental to Trafigura, as although it is presumably legal, it does have a certain flavour. The occasional betting on the wrong horse had already been demonstrated by Traifgura in the nickel scam, when the company had entered into a deal with trading partners already notorious in the market.

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