UK packaging manufacturers and raw material suppliers who complain that surging cheap imports are jeopardising their profitability should exploit the help available from the EU, a trade law firm has recommended.

Steve Orava, a partner at US firm King & Spalding’s London offices, is “amazed” that, amidst numerous complaints over “dumping”, few UK packaging companies realise the European Commission protection available.

He explains: “The UK is a signatory to World Trade Organisation trade remedy rules that enable the EC to redress the damaging consequences of surging imports.”

If it upholds a dumping complaint, Orava says, the EC can impose tough additional import tariffs or other fiscal measures to deter low cost exporters.

British Plastics Federation director-general Peter Davis adds: “Complainants do need hard evidence but the DTI and EC do take complaints seriously and will act. Merchants may happily dump huge volumes of low-cost exports at rock-bottom prices and exit but larger manufacturers are less likely to risk their reputations.”