Anti-dumping Perspective: Haemers NV 15 March 2021

Anti-dumping: The industry’s viewpoint

In the last edition of Fastener + Fixing Magazine we invited the European Fastener Distributors Association and the European Industrial Fasteners Institute to give us their perspective on the anti-dumping investigation into imports of certain iron or steel fasteners from the People’s Republic of China (2020/C 442/06). For this issue we have invited individual manufacturers and distributors to give us their perspective.

Nobody’s thoughts have been omitted. If ideas or beliefs are not represented it is simply because they were not provided. Through necessity of space, some contributions have been edited, but we have been meticulous in retaining the core of each contributor’s perspective. We also gave companies the opportunity to remain anonymous if they preferred. We make no claim for how representative these assessments are, but they represent both sides of the discussion and make for a fascinating read.

David Mulnard
COO
Haemers NV

As a producer of press parts and flat washers, I was a bit surprised when I read the article in the January edition of Fastener + Fixing Magazine regarding the analysis of the EU anti-dumping investigation into imports of certain iron or steel fasteners from the People’s Republic of China (2020/C 442/06)1.

I am the 4th generation of our family business and have been active in the industry for 20 years. Since 2016, we have seen our production of flat washers decrease year after year. We have a modern and efficient machine park, which we heavily invested in from 2010 – 2015. We are convinced that we can compete with low wage countries with this new machine park, but this competition must be fair and not influenced in advance by government support, export support or lower environmental requirements.

Price differences of up to 50% can no longer be traced back to wage costs alone. The cost price of a washer consists largely of material costs, but we are already experiencing enormous differences there – without conclusive explanations.

What struck us most about the article in the last edition is that it indicates that we (manufacturers) are not making or have not made the necessary investments, and certainly do not have the necessary capacity, to produce the products under investigation. Well, this is precisely the result of the import policy that has been in place for years. If, in 2017, we had to make the choice between a press line for specials or one fully focused on mass production of standard items, the choice was an easy one.

Despite all these years, the world of fasteners is still very dear to us and we are keen to create long-lasting partnerships with customers. It is certainly true that price is important and it will continue to be in the future, but at the moment it is too strongly influenced by artificial and controlled inputs from outside Europe.

When Covid-19 broke out in early 2020 and the supply chain from the Far East was interrupted, this was instantly noticeable for us as a producer. We were immediately ready to help every distributor and quickly provide the necessary supply. Many end users were forced to reduce or even stop production due to the lack of certain parts. Many of them now consciously opt for a better ratio and less risk, such as through collaboration with a 2nd European supplier. Unfortunately, we see that in the world of fasteners this trend is becoming less permanent again, which is regrettable.

Our position is that imports are necessary for the European market and its growth. However, a slightly healthier balance between imports and local production will take many companies a step forward, as well as benefitting employment within Europe. In fact it could be one of the possible solutions for the Covid-19 crisis and its financial consequences – both for companies and people.

No one benefits from import tariffs of 85% not even us producers. However, a ‘small’ protection of the home market, factories, personnel, and supply chain, will not harm anyone. You cannot employ all of Europe and the people who live there in just distribution, construction, services and engineering. Local production provides large employment both directly and indirectly, and that sector deserves its place in the business world.

I advise all distributors, members of different associations, and end users, to also map out the consequences should there be no production in Europe at all and the potential problems it could create with factors currently impacting the market – pandemic, container supply, material scarcity, etc.

I believe the healthy balance has been completely lost in recent years and this needs to be adjusted so that every company and employee has a bright future in both production and distribution. 

www.fastenerandfixing.com/insight/analysis-of-eu-anti-dumping-investigation

Content Director

Will Lowry Content Director t: +44 (0) 1727 743 888

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Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 14 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.

Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.