The imposition of provisional anti-dumping duties on Chinese melamine imports to Europe has been taken with “insufficient evaluation” and could lead to a worsening competitive position for European timber and woodworking companies, according to Cei-Bois.

The criticism is contained in a letter from CEI-Bois (the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries) secretary-general Filip de Jaeger to the European Commission.

Provisional anti-dumping duties of 44.9-62.5%, which came into force on November 17 pending an ongoing consultation process, will affect wood-based panels, impregnated paper for coating of panels (Decorative Panels and laminate flooring), glulam, cross-laminated timber, parquet flooring and furniture.

Mr de Jaegar said the duty imposition was likely to further increase the prices for melamine and melamine-based substances on the European market due to there only being a few local melamine producers in the EU.

“This, in turn, will undoubtedly have an effect on the cost structure for the woodworking and furniture companies concerned, a cost structure already under strong pressure due to the economic crisis with lasting impacts on the construction sector, where products are mainly used,” he said.

“Consequently, this could lead to a worse competitive position on the European and international markets.”

He said CEI-Bois was concerned the commission’s decision was taken without sufficient evaluation of the likely effects and strong impact on downstream users of melamine in the EU and urged the commission to look at this aspect in full before taking any further decisions.

“Furthermore, we have been informed that the melamine grades would differ strongly between the EU and China, which would have led to an erroneous comparison.”

Several wood-based panel manufacturers have already told CEI-Bois of their intention to raise “very detailed remarks” about the duties to the commission.