Investigation into China, HK, Taiwan closed.

The European Commission today (Oct. 24) dropped plans to slap import levies on imports of blank DVDs from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, after deciding that any such duties would provide little succour for Europe's domestic industry.

The Commission closed its investigation into whether the exporters were selling recordable DVDs in the EU below domestic prices or below the production cost, a practice known as dumping.

The decision comes a day after the EU scrapped a similar probe into cheap imports of blank CDs, from China and Malaysia.

Both moves came after EU governments fell under pressure from European users of recordable discs, such as content distributors, retailers and consumers, who are happy with current import prices.

The DVD investigation found that EU consumption of blank DVDs surged from 10,570 in 2002 to more than 1.6 million in 2005, but during the same period, European DVD producers only grew from zero to a mere 0.8% compared with the share of non-European manufacturers.

"The European industry has never been able to gain a substantial market share," the Commission said in its decision. "(But) it is highly unlikely that the remaining industry would be viable and could benefit from the imposition of anti-dumping measures."

It said that if duties were introduced, it would likely lead to price hikes that would push consumers into seeking alternatives to DVDs such as hard discs on DVD recorders and flash-memory sticks.