The European Commission has opened an investigation into whether China is dumping aluminium extrusions, products widely used in transport, construction and electronics, in the European Union, it said on Friday.
A notice in the EU's Official Journal said it was acting on a complaint filed last month by industry group European Aluminium representing seven producers.
"The evidence provided by the complainant shows that the volume and the prices of the imported product under investigation have had, among other consequences, a negative impact," the Commission said.
European Aluminium welcomed the move, calling for an urgent launch of anti-dumping duties.
"In the past year, production lines and entire plants closed, with significant job losses as a result. We ask the EU to be proactive rather than wait until it is too late," Gerd Götz, director general of European Aluminium, said in a statement.
Aluminium extrusions from China are already subject to anti-dumping duties in the United States, Canada, Australia and Vietnam, the statement added.
Aluminium extrusions are used for engine blocks and chassis in autos, to house coaxial cables for electronics and as building facades in construction.
Wen Xianjun, vice chairman of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, who previously led aluminium anti-dumping negotiations with the United States, said his department opposed the EU investigation and was studying it.
"It will further increase global trade protectionism. We will organise related companies to actively respond to the complaint," said Wen, who is also an independent non-executive director at China's top aluminium extruder China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. Members of European Aluminium include Norsk Hydro, Rio Tinto and Alcoa.
They are battling a weak market impacted by a lack of demand, including from the auto sector.