Steel imports from China

Update date:
07 Mar 2024
Date of publication:
07 Mar 2024
Reading time: 5 minutes

The global steel industry has experienced significant growth in recent years, with China becoming a key player in the market. Chinese steel producers have gained a reputation for competitive prices and high production capacity. As a result, many companies around the world have begun to import steel from China to meet their manufacturing and construction needs. Importing steel from China offers a number of benefits, including access to a wide range of steel products, cost savings and the opportunity to take advantage of China's vast steel production capacity. However, it is critical for importers to carefully navigate the intricacies of international trade regulations, quality control and logistics to ensure a successful and efficient import process.

Importing steel from China - requirements and obligations

When importing goods into the European Union, it is important to be thoroughly familiar with the relevant market requirements, which vary depending on the type of goods being imported. This is particularly relevant in the context of steel imports from China, a material commonly used in the manufacture of machinery, tools and construction products.

Steel-based construction products are subject to the regulations set out in Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council. These regulations cover, among other things, steel pipes and steel structures. They are within the framework of the New Approach Directives, which set safety and quality standards for goods within the European Union. Goods covered by the directives must be CE marked, which also applies to imported steel construction products from China. Importers must arrange for CE marking and provide related documents such as test reports, the CE certificate of conformity or the declaration of performance.

Before importing, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the product's intended use and to check whether it is subject to specific regulations, markings or requires specific documents.

For the successful import of steel from China into the European Union, it is necessary to collect the relevant documents and meet both national and EU requirements. In the case of steel, particular attention must be paid to the type of goods imported into Poland. Steel is mainly used to manufacture machinery, equipment and tools used in the construction industry. Steel construction materials are subject to Council Directive 89/106/EEC and European Parliament and Council Regulation (EU) No 305/2011, which regulates the conditions for the placing of construction products on the market.

It is worth noting that the Council Directive 89/106/EEC is part of the New Approach Directives, which allow the free circulation of products that meet fundamental requirements concerning the safety of humans, animals and the environment. CE marking plays a key role, so when importing steel from China to Poland, it is necessary to have this marking, which is confirmed by a document such as the EU Declaration of Conformity, the EC Declaration of Conformity or the Declaration of Performance (DWU - only for products covered by 305/2011 CPR - construction products).

All this applies primarily to steel applications in the construction industry. Different regulations, permits or markings apply to other areas of application.

Anti-dumping duty on steel from China

When importing steel from China, an important issue that companies need to pay attention to is the anti-dumping duty, on certain steel products from China. The anti-dumping duty is a tool to protect the domestic market from Chinese steel at much lower prices. 

Before importing steel products from China, it is worth checking whether an anti-dumping duty is imposed on these particular steel products, which will derail the profitability of the import.

For example, products such as steel rims and stainless steel coils and sheets are subject to anti-dumping duties. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the EU regulations: 

List of EU regulations:

Tariff rates on selected steel products from China

Duty on cast iron and steel: 

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

Customs duty on iron and steel articles

  • Stainless steel butt-welded pipe or tube fittings, elbows and bends (7307231025) - 3.7%
  • Stainless steel screws and bolts with flat or cross-slotted heads (7318155290) - 3.7%
  • Steel tanks, drums, cans, boxes and similar containers for any material (other than compressed or liquefied gas), having a capacity of 50 litres or more (7310100000) - 2.7%
  • Articulated steel chains and parts (7315120000) - 2.7%
  • Line pipes, of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines, of stainless steel (7304110010) - 0%
  • Stainless steel cold drawn or cold rolled products (7304312000) - 0%
  • Stainless steel tubes and pipes, cold-drawn or cold-rolled - 0%
  • Sheet piling of iron or steel, whether or not hollow, pressed or made of assembled elements (7301100000) - 0%
  • Steel scaffolding, shuttering, formwork or mine roofing components (7308400000) - 0%
  • Doors, windows and their frames and door thresholds in steel (7308300000) - 0%
  • Stainless steel strands, ropes and cables (7312102000) - 0%
  • Barbed wire, of iron or steel; stranded hoops or single flat wire, with or without spikes, and loosely twisted double wire, of a kind used for fences, of iron or steel (7313000000) - 0%
  • Nails, drawing pins, clamps and similar articles of steel (7317006090) - 0%
  • Steel safety pins and other pins (7319400000) - 2.7%
  • Steel appliances for gas or for gas and other fuels (7321810000) - 2.7%

Sea and rail transport of steel from China

Sea and rail transport play a key role in the efficient import of steel from China to Europe. The choice of this mode of transport is justified for several important reasons. Firstly, sea transport is characterised by an impressive cargo capacity, which makes it possible to transport large quantities of goods at the same time. More importantly, the price level of sea and rail transport ensures that steel imports from China remain cost-effective, encouraging companies to use these modes of transport.

The duration of sea transport from port to port, which is approximately 36 days, enables the raw material to be delivered efficiently and on schedule. Rail transport, on the other hand, with a duration of approximately 14-21 days, covers the route from the terminal in China to the terminal in Poland. This reduced delivery time ensures rapid turnover of goods, which is crucial in today's dynamic business environment.


In summary, importing steel from China can be a complex process, but it can also be a lucrative opportunity for companies looking to expand their product offering. While there are potential challenges and risks, proper research and due diligence can help mitigate these factors. As China is a major player in the global steel market, the potential benefits and drawbacks should be carefully considered before deciding to import steel from the country. With the right knowledge and resources, importing steel from China can be a successful and profitable venture for companies.

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