COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) No. 2015/2385 IMPOSING A DEFINITIVE ANTI-DUMPING DUTY AND COLLECTING DEFINITIVELY THE PROVISIONAL DUTY IMPOSED ON IMPORTS OF CERTAIN ALUMINIUM FOILS ORIGINATING IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
The European Commission,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
Having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1225/2009 of 30 November 2009 on protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Community <*> (the basic Regulation), and in particular Article 9(4) thereof,
<*> OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 51.
- Provisional Measures
(1) The European Commission (the Commission) imposed on 4 July 2015 a provisional anti-dumping duty on imports of certain aluminium foils originating in the Russian Federation (Russia) by Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1081 <*> (the provisional Regulation).
<*> Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1081 of 3 July 2015 imposing a provisional anti-dumping duty on imports of certain aluminium foils originating in Russia (OJ L 175, 4.7.2015, p. 14).
(2) The proceeding was initiated on 8 October 2014 following a complaint lodged on 25 August 2014 by AFM Aluminiumfolie Merseburg GmbH, Alcomet AD, Eurofoil Luxembourg SA, Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products GmbH and Impol d.o.o. (the complainants) on behalf of producers representing more than 25% of the total Union production of aluminium foils. The complaint contained prima facie evidence of dumping of the said product and of resulting material injury that was considered sufficient to justify the initiation of the investigation.
- Subsequent procedure
(3) Subsequent to the disclosure of the essential facts and considerations on the basis of which a provisional antidumping duty was imposed (the provisional disclosure), several interested parties made written submissions making known their views on the provisional findings. The parties who so requested were granted an opportunity to be heard.
(4) The intervention of the Hearing Officer in trade proceedings was requested by the sole exporter, Rusal group, and five users. The hearing with the exporter took place in the presence of a representative of Russia on 14 October 2015. The main points discussed were the application of Article 2(9) of the basic Regulation for the calculation of export price and the impact of imports of aluminium converter foils (ACF) from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the situation of the Union industry. The hearing with the users took place on 23 October 2015, after the deadline for submitting comments to the final disclosure. The main points discussed were the alleged circumvention of the anti-dumping measures on imports of AHF from the PRC, the impact of the imports from third countries on the injury suffered by the Union industry, the impact of the imposition of anti-dumping measures on imports of aluminium household foil (AHF) from Russia on users, and the possibility to use the minimum import price as type of measures.
(5) In addition, on 27 October 2015 five rewinders requested a confrontational hearing with the complainants. However, the complainants have not shown interest in participating in such hearing.
(6) The Commission considered the oral and written comments submitted by the interested parties and, where appropriate, modified the provisional findings accordingly.
(7) The Commission informed all parties of the essential facts and considerations on the basis of which it intended to impose a definitive anti-dumping duty on imports of certain aluminium foils originating in Russia and definitively collect the amounts secured by way of provisional duty (the definitive disclosure). All parties were granted a period within which they could make comments on the definitive disclosure.
(8) The comments submitted by the interested parties were considered and taken into account where appropriate.
(9) Following provisional disclosure, one of the sampled Union producers sold all its activity including equipment, rights permits, obligations concerning employees and its existing contracts to a new company. As this change took place after the investigation period, it is not relevant for the injury assessment under Article 6(1) of the basic Regulation.
(10) In the absence of comments concerning the method of sampling, the provisional findings set out in recitals 7 to 13 of the provisional Regulation are confirmed.
- Investigation period and period considered
(11) As set out in recital 19 of the provisional Regulation the investigation of dumping and injury covered the period from 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014 (the investigation period). The examination of trends relevant for the assessment of injury covered the period from 1 January 2011 to the end of the investigation period (the period considered).
(12) After provisional disclosure, the Russian authorities argued that as the investigation period also included data for the last quarter of 2013, the determination of trends in the injury analysis did not meet the requirement of the objectiveness laid down in Article 3(2) of the basic Regulation.
(13) The investigation period was set in accordance with Article 6(1) of the basic Regulation. In addition, the Commission relied on a sufficiently representative period of time for the examination of trends of all relevant economic factors and indices having a bearing on the state of the industry i.e. the investigation period and 3 complete financial years prior to the investigation period. The fact that there is some overlapping between the investigation period and one of the years included in the period considered does not affect the objective determination of the injury carried out by the Commission. This claim was therefore rejected.
- PRODUCT CONCERNED AND LIKE PRODUCT
(14) As set out in recital 20 of the provisional Regulation, the product concerned is aluminium foil of a thickness of not less than 0,008 mm and not more than 0,018 mm, not backed, not further worked than rolled, in rolls of a width not exceeding 650 mm and of a weight exceeding 10 kg (jumbo rolls) originating in Russia, currently falling within CN code ex 7607 11 19 (TARIC code 7607 11 19 10) (the product concerned). The product concerned is commonly known as aluminium household foil (AHF).
(15) Following the provisional disclosure, several interested party claimed that the Russian imports did not compete with the AHF manufactured by the Union industry, however without further explaining this claim or substantiating it. Therefore, this claim was rejected.
(16) In the absence of any other comments regarding the product concerned and the like product, the conclusions reached in recitals 21 to 28 of the provisional Regulation are confirmed.
(17) The details of the dumping calculation are set out in recitals 29 to 52 of the provisional Regulation.
(18) Following the provisional disclosure, Rusal group contested the adjustments made to the export price as described in recitals 40 to 42 of the provisional Regulation. Rusal group claimed that deduction of sales, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses and profit of the related trader are only warranted in case of delivery duty paid (DDP) transactions and not in case of delivery at place of destination (DAP) and cost, insurance and freight (CIF) transactions.
(19) In reply to this claim, it is noted that the Commission constructed the export price in accordance with Article 2(9) of the basic Regulation due to the existing association between the producers and their related trader. The investigation showed that this association applies to all types of transactions regardless of their commercial terms. Moreover, Rusal group did not provide any evidence on why the profit margin used would not be reasonable. The claims made in this regard are therefore considered unsubstantiated and should be rejected. With regard to SG&A expenses, it is the party claiming the excessiveness of the adjustment who shall provide specific evidence and calculations justifying its claim and, in particular, to give the alternative rate of adjustment that it suggests where applicable. Rusal group however failed to provide any of this in its submission following the provisional disclosure.
(20) On the basis of above, the claim of the exporting producer was rejected.
(21) Following the final disclosure Rusal group reiterated its disagreement concerning the adjustments made for SG&A and profit under Article 2(9) of the basic Regulation for DAP and CIF transactions. Rusal group is not contesting the application of Article 2(9) given the involvement of the related trader in all types of transactions (i.e. DDP, DAP and CIF). However, with regards to the transactions performed under CIF and DAP terms, Rusal group contests the applicability of the adjustments under the second and third subparagraph of Article 2(9), in particular SG&A and profit. In its view, under CIF and DAP terms the delivery of the goods to the buyer is made prior to importation, and therefore these adjustments are not applicable. In its submission Rusal group listed a number of cases where apparently the Commission did not make adjustments under Article 2(9). Finally, the Rusal group claims that, in the alternative, should the Commission maintain that the application of Article 2(9) requires an automatic adjustment for reasonable SG&A costs and profit, then the Commission services should recognise that the trader was an integrated department of the exporting producer in CIF and DAP transactions, and consequently apply Article 2(8) of the basic Regulation to those transactions.
(22) In reply to this, the Commission confirms that, in the case of Rusal an adjustment for a reasonable margin for SG&A and profits under the second and third subparagraph of Article 2(9) should be applied for all types of transactions. Although the delivery of the goods for the CIF transactions is made prior to the release into free circulation of the goods and even if the responsibility for the customs clearance is on the buyer (as opposed to transactions under DDP terms), this does not change the fact that the sales are performed by the related trader which is bearing SG&A costs and which is normally seeking to make a profit for its services. In light of the fact that the trader is related to the exporting producer, Article 2(9) of the basic Regulation implies that the data of such trader is by definition unreliable and that its SG&A costs and profits should be established by the investigating authority on a reasonable basis. Besides, Article 2(9) of the basic Regulation does not preclude adjustments being made for costs incurred before importation, inasmuch as those costs are normally borne by the importer. Therefore, the complete exclusion of adjustments for SG&A and profit for what concerns sales performed under CIF terms is not justifiable. Indeed, the fact that the related company performs only certain functions does not prevent the Commission from making the adjustments under Article 2(9) of the basic Regulation but could be reflected in a lower amount of SG&A to be deducted from the price at which the product concerned is first resold to an independent buyer. In any event, the interested party who intends to dispute the extent of the adjustments made on the basis of Article 2(9) of the Basic Regulation has a burden of proof. Hence, if this party deems the adjustments to be excessive it must supply specific evidence and calculations justifying those claims. As regards DAP transactions, it should be mentioned that the places of delivery are well inside the EU customs territory and therefore the difference with respect to the degree of involvement of the trader as compared to sales under DDP terms is even smaller. As for the past cases mentioned by the Rusal group it is important to note first that the Commission’s position is in line with the case-law of the Union Courts. Second, the Commission enjoys a wide discretion in the sphere of measures to protect trade and, when exercising that discretion, is not bound by its past assessments. In any event, the factual situation in each of the cases referred to by the Rusal group differed. As regards finally the alternative claim to apply Article 2(8) of the basic Regulation, the Commission refers to the reasoning in this recital and in recital 19 and reiterates that the mere fact of association between the exporter and the related company is enough to enable the Commission to treat the actual export prices as unreliable because the existence of association between the exporter and related company is one of a number of reasons for which the actual export prices may be regarded as unreliable.
(23) Concerning the quantification of the adjustment for SG&A, following the receipt of comments to the provisional disclosure, the Commission invited Rusal group to identify the part of SG&A that they considered not-applicable or unreasonable for CIF and DAP transactions and to provide evidence thereof as required by case-law. However, no evidence was provided in this respect because Rusal group conditioned the submission of any information upon the Commission’s acceptance of its legal interpretation of Article 2(9) of the basic Regulation. In the absence of any element provided by the Rusal group in this respect, the claim should be rejected.
(24) In the absence of any further comment, the provisional findings as set out in recitals 29 to 52 of the provisional Regulation are confirmed and the definitive dumping margins, expressed as a percentage of the CIF Union frontier price, duty unpaid, remain unchanged:
|Company||Definitive dumping margin|
|All other companies||34,0%|
- Definition of the Union industry and Union production
(25) The change mentioned in recital 9 above did not affect the definition of the Union industry.
(26) In the absence of any comments with respect to the definition of the Union industry and Union production, the conclusions set out in recitals 53 to 55 of the provisional Regulation are confirmed.
- Union consumption
(27) In the absence of any comments with regard to Union consumption, the conclusions set out in recitals 56 to 60 of the provisional Regulation are confirmed.
- Imports from the country concerned
(28) In the absence of any comments concerning the imports from the country concerned, the conclusions set out in recitals 61 to 70 of the provisional Regulation are confirmed.
- Economic situation of the Union industry
(29) Following provisional disclosure, one interested party claimed that the analysis of the economic situation of the Union industry would be affected by the interdependence of the AHF and the ACF markets. The party claimed that the interdependence of these markets was due to three main assumptions: (i) all sampled Union producers were able to produce both AHF and ACF on the same manufacturing facilities and equipment, (ii) the relative ease to switch between the production of ACF and AHF, and (iii) the high price elasticity of demand of both products. The party finally claimed that the Union producers were not able to distinguish the economic factors relating to each of these products separately and that therefore, the Commission should have applied Article 3(8) of the basic Regulation and based its injury assessment on a broader basis.
(30) It has to be noted that ACF is, however, a different product than AHF and it is used in different applications. As explained in recital 131 of the provisional Regulation, the largest sampled Union producer of AHF was producing solely AHF. As also mentioned in this recital, the investigation has shown that those Union producers producing both AHF and ACF could not switch easily from one product to the other as the production of both products in certain quantities is needed in order to maximise efficiency. In addition, the investigation has shown that the sampled Union producers had a stable ratio of production between the two types of foils. Furthermore, the Union producers that were manufacturing both AHF and ACF were able to separate the economic and financial data for the production and sales of AHF from those for the production and sales of ACF. Therefore, the injury analysis in recitals 71 to 108 of the provisional Regulation only refers to the production and sales of AHF in the Union and the claim that the Commission should have applied Article 3(8) of the basic Regulation was therefore rejected.
(31) Following final disclosure, this interested party disagreed with the Commission’s conclusion that the application of Article 3(8) of the basic Regulation was not applicable in this case. The interested party reiterated its arguments showed in recitals 29 and 30 above without bringing any new elements. It also insisted that the Commission could not establish that most Union producers were able to separate the economic and financial data for the production of AHF and ACF, however without substantiating its claim. Therefore, the Commission confirms that it did not need to have recourse to Article 3(8) of the basic Regulation in this case because the verified data of the sampled Union producers permitted the separate identification of the production of the like product. Because the claims made by this interested party are mere allegations that are factually incorrect, they are rejected.
(32) Following provisional disclosure, the Russian authorities asked the Commission to provide the non-confidential versions of the responses of the sampled Union producers and all other evidence showing material injury. They further requested access to the methodology used by the Commission to assess the material injury suffered by the Union producers.
(33) The Commission recalls that the Russian authorities were informed, together with all interested parties, on 25 August 2015 (following their submission to the provisional disclosure) on the exact procedure to follow in order to obtain access to the non-confidential file of the investigation. The non-confidential versions of those responses were in sufficient detail to permit a reasonable understanding of the substance of the information provided in confidence. As concerns the other evidence that supports the finding of material injury suffered by the Union industry, this was presented in recitals 71 to 108 of the provisional Regulation.
- Conclusion on injury
(34) Following provisional disclosure, two interested parties claimed that not all injury indicators showed a negative trend and that the existence of a positive trend of some of the injury indicators would demonstrate that the Union industry did not suffer material injury. It was also claimed that the insufficient increase in the Union industry’s sales volume does not point to material injury as this was the result of insufficient production capacity when demand in the Union grew.
(35) Under Article 3(5) of the basic Regulation, a finding of material injury is based on an overall assessment of all the relevant injury indicators. Drawing conclusions solely based on certain selected injury indicators would distort the analysis in this case. Thus, as concluded in recital 106 of the provisional Regulation, although production capacity, production and sales of the Union industry increased in the period considered such increase was below the increase in consumption. Despite the difficult financial situation of the Union industry, Union producers made efforts to invest to increase capacity to benefit from the increase in the Union consumption. However, as they were not able to increase prices to cost-covering levels, their ability to invest in capacity increases was limited. The producers were to a certain extent able to finance the losses incurred from the production and sales of AHF with the profits obtained from the sale of other products. However, on long term, such strategy is not sustainable for the Union industry to produce a product that is loss making. Therefore, the claim that not all injury indicators showed a negative trend and that there was, therefore, no material injury, was rejected.
(36) Following final disclosure, the Russian authorities reiterated their claim before provisional stage that according to publicly available financial documents of the complainants there would be no material injury.
(37) As explained in recital 107 of the provisional Regulation, some of the Union producers did not produce exclusively AHF and therefore the publicly available financial documents cannot reveal the actual situation of the Union industry for AHF. Moreover, the results of the investigation are based on actual verified data of the Union industry related to AHF. This claim was, therefore, rejected.
(38) Following final disclosure, one interested party reiterated its claim that the majority of the relevant factors and indices having a bearing on the state of the Union industry of AHF had a positive development during the period considered. It furthermore claimed that the Commission’s analysis of the situation of the Union industry is based only on a few indicators.
(39) However, the Commission’s analysis of the situation of the Union industry is based on the totality of the factors presented in Section D of the provisional Regulation. The fact that some of the injury indicators like production, production capacity and sales volume showed a positive trend during the period considered does not undermine the overall conclusion that the Union industry suffered material injury within the meaning of Article 3(5) of the basic Regulation. The indicators cannot be seen in isolation from each other, the correlation between the indicators needs to be taken into account as well. As explained in recital 106 of the provisional Regulation, production volume increased by 7% and production capacity by 12% during the period considered. However these increases fell behind the increase in consumption which was much higher, namely by [17% – 28%] over the period considered. As a consequence, even though the sales volume of the Union industry increased by [2% – 10%] during the period considered, in a market with an even higher increase in consumption, the increase in sales volume did not lead to an increase of market share, but to the contrary, to a loss of market share by 8 percentage points. This demonstrates that the Union industry could not benefit from the increase in consumption. Furthermore, even though the investments increased by 47% during the period considered, this still fell behind the investments needed to keep up with the increase in consumption. Finally, the cash flow showed a positive trend, but in absolute terms it remained at low levels. Consequently, the positive trend of some indicators, when analysed in correlation with other factors, confirms in fact an injurious situation of the Union industry. Therefore, the claims in recital 38 above were rejected.
(40) Following final disclosure, five rewinders alleged, in the context of requesting the measures to be imposed in the form of a minimum import price, that the selling price of the Union producer manufacturing solely AHF increased after the investigation period, while the aluminium premium decreased. The parties also claimed that these elements translated into higher profits for this Union producer.
(41) In accordance with Article 6(1) of the basic Regulation, the conclusion on injury above was reached on the basis of verified data for the period considered, not taking into account post investigation period data and on basis of data representative for the totality of the sampled companies and not on one Union producer in isolation. Therefore, the claim in recital 40 was rejected.
(42) On the basis of the above and in in the absence of any other comments, the conclusions set out in recitals 71 to 108 of the provisional Regulation that the Union industry suffered material injury within the meaning of Article 3(5) of the basic Regulation were confirmed. The Union industry suffered material injury, which was reflected most notably in the negative profitability almost during the entire period considered.
- Effect of the dumped imports
(43) Following provisional disclosure, some interested parties reiterated their claims submitted prior to the imposition of provisional duties, i.e. that the injury suffered by the Union industry was not caused by the Russian imports but by other factors such as the inability of the Union industry to increase its production capacity in line with the increasing demand, imports from other third countries like Turkey and the PRC and the increase in production of ACF by the Union industry to the detriment of AHF.
(44) The claimed impact of other factors on the material injury suffered by the Union industry is addressed in recitals 49 to 97 below.
(45) In addition, one party claimed that the profitability of the Union industry increased in 2013 when the Russian imports were at their highest absolute volume which allegedly would demonstrate that the Russian imports did not have an impact on the profitability of the Union industry and did therefore not cause the material injury suffered by the Union industry.
(46) As shown in recital 99 of the provisional Regulation, the profitability of the Union industry was slightly fluctuating, between – 2,9% and 0,2% during the period considered. In 2013, the profitability of the Union industry barely exceeded the breakeven point, i.e. amounted to 0,2%. While the volume of the Russian imports was the highest in the same year, its market share remained constant at 34%. Therefore, this minor temporary improvement of the Union industry’s profitability did not affect the conclusion that the overall profitability of the Union industry was negative (with the exception of 2013) and remained under the target profit of 5% over the entire period considered. It did also not affect the conclusion drawn in recital 116 of the provisional Regulation that there was a causal link between the deterioration of the Union industry’s situation and the dumped Russian imports which held a constant and significant market share. Therefore, this claim was rejected.
(47) In the light of the above, the causal link was established between dumped imports and the material injury found on the basis of the combined existence of substantial import volumes from Russia (34% market share held by one producer) and the high price pressure exerted by these imports on the Union market (price underselling of around 12%).
(48) In the absence of any other comments as regard the effects of the dumped imports, the conclusions set out in recitals 110 to 116 of the provisional Regulation were confirmed.
- Effect of other factors
2.1. Effect of imports from other countries
(49) After provisional disclosure, it came to the attention of the Commission that in table 11 of the provisional Regulation, total imports included erroneously also the imports from Russia. The below table replaces table 11 of the provisional Regulation: