China may face more anti-dumping inquiries initiated by the EU this year as the 25-nation bloc tries to protect its markets from lower priced Chinese goods, a trade lawyer said.
"We may well see more anti-dumping investigations -- particularly in historically highly protected industries such as agriculture and textiles," said Leora Blumberg, a Hong Kong-based lawyer with US law firm Heller Ehrman LLP.
"European countries are struggling to compete with increasingly competitive Chinese exports," she added.
Last month, the EU slapped anti-dumping duties on Chinese shoes and sneakers.
China threatened retaliation, citing "legal shortcomings."
The EU on Oct. 18 said it had imposed provisional duties of as high as 34.2 percent on strawberries after applying two-year tariffs on 9.7 billion euros (US$12.38 billion) worth of Chinese and Vietnamese shoes and sneakers two weeks earlier. The EU imposed definitive levies on nine Chinese products last year and has imposed definitive duties on five types of Chinese products this year.
The EU launched eight anti-dumping investigations into Chinese exports in the first nine months of the year, equal to the number of probes for all of last year, according to the European Commission's Web site.
In the 11 years to last year, China was the target of 469 anti-dumping investigations by WTO members, more than double the 218 probes against South Korea and the 162 against the US, according to the WTO's Web site.
India initiated the highest number of inquiries, followed by the US and the EU. A total of 338 anti-dumping duties were imposed on Chinese exports during the 11-year period, according to the WTO.
Investigations initiated this year against China for allegedly dumping goods may exceed last year's number, said Blumberg.
"China is without doubt the largest target of anti-dumping action because its industries are very competitive for reasons such as low labor costs," Blumberg said.
"Anti-dumping duties can effectively wipe out any advantage that China enjoys with respect to that particular industry," he added.
China conducted anti-dumping inquiries of its own beginning in 1997, carrying out 123 probes from 2000 to last year, targeting Japan, South Korea and the US the most.