BEIJING (Reuters) -- The European Union plans to open an anti-dumping investigation into hubcaps imported from China, a Chinese government source said on Monday, as Chinese hubcap manufacturers increasingly supply European automakers.
China's Ministry of Commerce warned in a statement on its Web site last weekend that the intended investigation would not be in line with World Trade Organization rules.
European automakers have turned to cheaper Chinese suppliers to source hubcaps, a trade that totaled more than $300 million in 2008, according to Chinese data.
"This is a 'lose-lose' case," the Chinese official said, adding the European side planned to launch the investigation "very soon."
Hubcaps made from aluminium alloy are manufactured in Hebei and Zhejiang province, where the industry initially sprang up to serve growing demand from automobile joint ventures operating in China.
The auto service firms have now expanded enough that they supply car manufacturers in Germany.
From July 2008 to May of 2009, Chinese hubcaps accounted for less than 8 percent of the European market, the Xinhua news agency said, citing data from the Chinese statistics bureau.