European Union authorities Aug. 5 opened an investigation into whether cheap Chinese recordable DVD imports are being unfairly dumped on the European market.

BRUSSELS (The Hollywood Reporter) -- European Union authorities Aug. 5 opened an investigation into whether cheap Chinese recordable DVD imports are being unfairly dumped on the European market.

The European Commission -- the EU's executive authority -- said the probe would cover imports from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and examine potential damage to European producers.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint from the Committee of CD-R Manufacturers, which represents more than 60% of EU production of DVD-R discs.

The investigation will look at whether the imported DVDs were "dumped," a term used when overseas manufacturers sell goods in the EU below the sales price in their domestic market or below the cost of production. If the probe concludes that they were sold too cheaply, then the EU can set hefty import duties to redress the price.

The EU set limited anti-dumping duties of up to 39.5% on Taiwan recordable compact disc (CD-R) imports in 2002. And in 2003, the EU investigated DVD/R imports from India. While it found insufficient evidence of dumping, the EU nonetheless uncovered unfair export subsidies, and promptly set duties of 7.3%.

"Dumping is often seen to relate to any cheap or below-cost imports, but the reality is more complicated," a commission official said. "If left unchallenged, dumping gives the outside exporters an unfair competitive advantage which could hurt the EU industry."

Anti-dumping measures are set only after an inquiry looks at the broader EU interest, including that of producers, importers, users and consumers.