The European Union appears to have sacked plans to impose anti-dumping duties on plastic bags from China, Malaysia and Thailand, at least for now.
European news reports said EU officials are leaning toward not imposing restrictions on imports from those countries, after Peter Mandelson, EU trade commissioner, launched an investigation in mid-2005.
The topic has split European industry, with bag producers arguing that they are under pressure from subsidized imports dumped into the market for less than what they cost to produce, while European retailers say the government should not protect an uncompetitive European bag industry.
China had called the bag probe ``seriously problematic.'' EU officials in Brussels, however, said they could reconsider and impose tariffs on the bags in the fall.
The EU debate mirrors one in the U.S., although the outcome was very different in Washington. The U.S. government imposed duties on bags from the three countries in 2004, after it said it found evidence of dumping.
The EU decision came as the European government decided it would impose duties on imports of Chinese shoes, a sign to some observers that EU officials were trying to weigh both domestic pressures and relations with Beijing in their trade decisions.