What topics keep the fastener industry awake at night?

You may be hard pressed to choose a single topic that preoccupied the fastener industry above all else in 2021. There was a lot of competition; was it container bottlenecks at ports? Lead times? Availability?

Award yourself a gold star if you chose anti-dumping. According to our news website, www.torque-expo.com, it was the anti-dumping topic that (narrowly) trumped all other subjects, in a tough field.

As 2021 drew to a welcome close, news came in that the European Commission was indeed planning to impose anti-dumping duties on fasteners from China, after more than a year of investigation.

It’s a move that the European Fastener Distributor Association (EFDA) branded “completely incomprehensible”, particularly in terms of timing. It said: “The excessively high duties will hit European Companies at a time when they are already suffering from massive supply problems.” It’s difficult to argue against that point (though we welcome comment from those who do). Would the Commission have been wise to at least delay the decision or implementation for 12 months, when the current unprecedented supply issues will be (fingers crossed) mostly resolved?

It’s a safe bet anti-dumping will continue to be an important topic for the fastener industry in 2022. It may mean businesses acting on contingency plans, it may see other nations or regions taking on more fastener manufacturing business. It might even mean Europe will produce more of its own fasteners, as the European Commission presumably thinks will happen now it has heaped extra duties on China’s fastener makers. Whether that reality comes to bear is a moot point, but we’ll be watching here at Torque Towers, and reporting on how these big decisions impact on the everyday fastener and tool business.

Jonathon Harker