I hear on the news today that the EU are imposing import duties on Chinese candles, because they're selling to the EU at 'below cost price'.
"Brussels launched a probe after candlemakers from Germany, the Netherlands and other countries complained that they were being hurt by illegal pricing practised by Chinese rivals and accused them of getting unfair export aid"
Hmm. So we'll help "Germany, the Netherlands and other countries ". When I lived in South London in the 80s I used to be cheered by seeing a classic Victorian factory near the Battersea Heliport which announced "Price's Patent Candles".
Up until the 1970's Price's also had an international reputation for designing and manufacturing candle-making machinery; this ceased in 1980 and the engineering workshop space was vacated. Increasing production costs, the logistics of transporting raw materials into and goods out of a central London location and the increase in value of what is now a prime riverside location led the company to reconsider its position. In 1998 it relocated its UK candle manufacture to Bicester in Oxfordshire, and in 2001 Price’s Head Office moved to Bedford to join the Distribution Centre. On the original site, a Price’s retail shop remains, sharing the Wilsons' original Battersea site with elegant riverside apartment blocks and a heliport.
I see that the factory became a building site (and it actually incorporated some bits of a 15th century moated house) and that Price's went bust, the Bicester site closed and the company was bought - well, the brand name was bought - by an Italian company who manufacture in Italy.
But that's not what I wanted to ask about. How does this 'dumping' work ? I presume the manufacturers aren't going to sell below cost price - and they wouldn't last long if they did.
How then is their export subsidised ? Do the Chinese Government pay a candle export subsidy or give the candle firms grants ? Or are the EU telling porkies again ? Do they just want to protect the candle industry for their own reasons ?
After all, in the new energy world, candles could be a strategic resource again. With no EU candle industry and North Sea oil running out, what if the Chinese blow out the candles just as the Russians turn off the gas ?
UPDATE - via anonymous in the comments, dirty candle-related EU deeds and an insider's view of Trade Commissar Mandelson :
Warming to the subject, he explained that Mandelson had, in the past, made so many errors in promoting free trade that he had no choice now but to introduce protectionist measures.
He said: “His wish is to remove barriers for trade, but unilaterally. Only to remove barriers at any cost. And in the real world this is, of course, not possible . . . He showed his sometimes radical, extreme positions so that member states that did not share his views were really scared and this you can’t do.”
He also poked fun at Mandelson: “He has a vision — without to be nasty — to be always on the front of the Financial Times. This is a problem with a visionaire. Ha? Someone who has vision, they don’t listen.”