Importing steel from China to the EU

China is the largest manufacturer of steel in the world. The country is responsible for about half of its entire global production, breaking its own records in this industry. In February 2021, Chinese steel production rose 4.1% compared to the previous year, reaching 150.2 million tons. Importing steel from China might be a good idea for a business. However, one must take a few key factors into account. We discuss the most crucial issues associated with importing steel from China.

Production areas for steel in China

The most significant manufacturing area for steel in China is Hebei province. The Tangshan city located there is in charge of 14% of the whole production of this material in China. It’s worth mentioning that in 2020 in Tangshan, more steel was manufactured than in the United States, Germany, and Brazil altogether. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, raw steel production in Tangshan reached 144 million tons.

Many steel manufacturers can also be found in Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang provinces. Other important production areas are also Tianjin city and Guangdong province. If you are preparing to import steel from China, it’s worth looking for suppliers in these regions. You can check all the mentioned production areas for Chinese steel on the map below.

Importing steel from China manufacturers

Importing steel from China – Duty rates in the EU

Before importing, every entrepreneur needs to check duty rates for a chosen product. Knowing the amount of the tariff and HS code for your item is crucial for customs clearance. You can find such information in the entirely free-to-use TARIC system. Check our guide on how to use the TARIC system

Products made from steel are in section XV, “Base metals and articles of base metal,” in chapters 72 and 73. 

Below we have compiled a list of duty rates for a few selected steel products along with their HS codes. They were divided into two groups: iron and steel (chapter 72) and articles of iron or steel (chapter 73). 

Please note! The list does not include the anti-dumping duty that may be imposed on some steel products, which we will discuss later. Remember to always check the actual duty rates before importing from China.

Duty rates for iron and steel

  • Iron and non-alloy steel in ingots or other primary forms (7206100000) – 0%
  • Stainless steel in ingots or other primary forms; semi-finished products of stainless steel (7218100000) – 0%
  • Flat-rolled products of stainless steel, of a width of less than 600 mm, not further worked than hot-rolled, of a thickness of 4.75 mm or more (7220110000) – 0%
  • Bars and rods, hot-rolled, in irregularly wound coils, of stainless steel (7221001000) – 0%
  • Wire of stainless steel, containing by weight 2.5% or more of nickel (7223001900) – 0%

Duty rates for articles of iron or steel

  • Sheet piling of iron or steel, whether or not drilled, punched or made from assembled elements; welded angles, shapes and sections, of iron or steel (7301100000) – 0%
  • Line pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines, of stainless steel (7304110010) – 0%
  • Tube or pipe fittings of stainless steel, elbows and bends (7307231025) – 3.7%
  • Precision tubes of iron or non-alloy steel, cold-drawn or cold-rolled (7304312000) – 0%
  • Doors, windows and their frames and thresholds for doors, of iron or steel (7308300000) – 0%
  • Equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit-propping, of iron or steel (7308400000) – 0%
  • Tanks, casks, drums, cans, boxes and similar containers, for any material (other than compressed or liquefied gas), of iron or steel, of a capacity not exceeding 300 l (7310100000) – 2.7%
  • Stranded wire, ropes and cables of stainless steel (7312102000) – 0%
  • Barbed wire of iron or steel; twisted hoop or single flat wire, barbed or not, and loosely twisted double wire, of a kind used for fencing, of iron or steel (7313000000) – 0%
  • Articulated link chain and parts thereof (7315120000) – 0%
  • Nails, tacks, drawing pins, corrugated nails, staples and similar articles, of iron or steel (7317006090) – 0%
  • Screws and bolts of iron or steel, with slotted or cross-recessed heads (7318155290) – 3.7%
  • Safety pins and other pins (7319400000) – 2.7%
  • Cooking appliances and plate warmers, for gas fuel or for both gas and other fuels (7321810000) – 2.7%

Anti-dumping duty for steel from China

Low duty rates for steel and articles made of steel from China imply that their import will be beneficial. However, one must keep in mind that additional payment for anti-dumping duty must be made for some steel products. It has been implemented to restrict the import of Chinese steel to the EU and simultaneously reduce the competition it creates for the European manufacturers of this material.

The anti-dumping duty also can be found in the TARIC system. You can always check up-to-date information concerning this matter and how high the anti-dumping duty is for a specific item on the website. Such a duty has been imposed on, e.g., on steel wheels for road use, selected iron or non-alloy steel pipes and tubes, and some hot-rolled sheets and coils of stainless steel.

Moreover, we highly recommend getting acquainted with the applicable regulations concerning anti-dumping duties for certain types of products. These are, among others:

  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/353 imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty and definitively collecting the provisional duty imposed on imports of steel road wheels originating in the People’s Republic of China;
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/635 imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty on imports of certain welded pipes and tubes of iron or non-alloyed steel originating in Belarus, the People’s Republic of China and Russia;
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1408 imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty and definitively collecting the provisional duty imposed on imports of certain hot rolled stainless steel sheets and coils originating in Indonesia, the People’s Republic of China, and Taiwan.

Importing steel from China – Requirements in the EU

When importing goods to the European Union, it’s crucial to get acquainted with the market’s correct requirements. Requirements for importing steel from China will differ depending on the product. However, this material is primarily used to manufacture items used for construction.

All construction products of steel fall under Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 laying down harmonized conditions for their marketing. This regulation concerns, e.g., steel pipes and steel constructions. Importers of such items are obliged to acquire a CE mark and proper documentation (test reports, CE Certification, and the Declaration of Performance).

However, one must remember that steel has many different ways of use (e.g., in motorization or manufacturing of household appliances). Therefore, you always need to know your product first and then check if particular regulations, markings, or documents apply to it.

Remember that for customs clearance, you’ll need a set of the following obligatory documents:

If you import steel to the European Union, make sure to read about the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) that adds a reporting obligation and more.

Do you import steel from China? Beware of fraud!

The increasing demand for steel from China attracts not only international importers but also many Chinese frauds. They use Chinese steel popularity and importers’ ignorance to earn easy money. Many dishonest companies or persons appear on the internet (e.g., on platforms like Alibaba) that pretend to be suppliers of steel. In reality, they are scammers who disappear right after receiving the payment and won’t send out your order.

Therefore, an importer must ensure whom they start cooperating with and whether the ordered goods comply with all the requirements. To check if the trading partner is trustworthy, we recommend verifying the Chinese company. If the company gets a green light, you should sign a commercial contract to establish terms and conditions.

Moreover, it’s worth carrying out quality control in a Chinese supplier’s factory. Such a measure will let you check any part of the manufacturing process, whether the goods are manufactured according to arrangements and in proper conditions.

Find out more about quality control in China!

Trade fairs for steel products from China

When preparing for import from China, one of the first steps is looking for a supplier. You can do this through wholesale online platforms, such as Alibaba, Made-in-China, HKTDC Sourcing, and many others. They have gained popularity among international entrepreneurs.

However, it’s worth planning a trip to China and attending trade fairs. They are organized in many different cities and concern almost every industry. Chinese trade fairs let you get acquainted with suppliers’ offers and check the quality of products in person. Moreover, they create an excellent opportunity to communicate with sellers face-to-face, ask questions, and negotiate.

Check where trade fairs for steel products take place in China:

China (Guangzhou) International Exhibition for Steel Construction and Metal Building Materials

China (Guangzhou) International Stainless Steel Industry Exhibition

Importing steel from China – Summary

  • Chinese manufacturers are responsible for about 50% of worldwide steel production. Most of it is manufactured in the Hebei province, while Tangshan city is considered the most significant production area for steel.
  • Duty rates for steel from China are very low, but in the European Union, some of the steel products require the additional paying of high anti-dumping duties.
  • If you’re a European importer, you can check HS codes, duty rates, and anti-dumping duties in the TARIC system.
  • An importer is obliged to get acquainted with the correct requirements for their products. For example, steel construction products imported into the EU need a CE mark.
  • Remember always to verify your future business partner. This way, you’ll be sure that it’s worth cooperating with them.