Mannol responds as product dumping investigation announced

Mannol responds as product dumping investigation announced

In a statement released on Monday, UK lubricants company Aztec Oils announced it had successfully opened a case with the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) in which it names and accuses Mannol of importing and selling lubricants from the UAE and Lithuania at well below cost, in a practice known as product dumping.

The TRA, which is a British government agency set up to defend the UK against unfair international trade practices, accepted Aztec’s request to investigate the allegations of product dumping, after an application was made which cited support from many UK-based companies within the sector as well as the UKLA (UK Lubricants Association).

Aztec’s statement alleges that is has “identified significant and increasing quantities of lubricants originating from the UAE and Lithuania sold at prices well below both manufacturing and import costs”, an issue it claims has arisen “since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022”.

It then goes on to identify “SCT, Mannol and others in the UK” which have “put enormous strain on UK lubricant manufacturers who have struggled to compete.”

With the acceptance of Aztec Oils’ application, the TRA is now committed to investigating the matter and has the power to recommend remedial measures to the UK Government to impose depending on their findings.

Managing director of Aztec Oils, Mark Lord, commented: “We strongly believe that an equal and fair trading environment is essential to maintaining jobs, talent, and prosperity in the UK. This principle is echoed by lubricant manufacturers, their suppliers and customers, and other stakeholders throughout the UK.

“We believe the dumping of these products inflicts significant damage upon all UK lubricant manufacturers. The importing of products that are then sold significantly below both the cost of importation and the production cost of UK-manufactured lubricants has resulted in an estimated loss of revenue for UK lubricant manufacturers of up to £100 million in the last year. This unethical practice has led to severe repercussions within the UK lubricant industry, with numerous companies forced to under go substantial operational and workforce streamlining”.

According to the application, evidence indicates that products imported into the UK from the UAE are being sold for less than 60% of their cost. Meanwhile, there has been an increase of 8,718% in UK imports of automotive engine oil from the UAE since 2019, and an increase of 63,879% in imports of hydraulic oil.

PMM got in touch with Mannol to ask for its response to the allegations, to which the company replied via its solicitors Wilson Browne Solicitors:

“Mannol became aware on the 17th June 2024, that the UK’s Trade Remedies Authority (‘TRA’) has initiated an investigation in response to an application by Aztec Oils Limited, alleging ‘product dumping’ from factories in Lithuania and UAE. Mannol denies these allegations, and considers the application to be an abuse of process, and is committed to demonstrating that the application is without merit.

“This is the latest attempt by Aztec Oils Limited, a competitor, to sully the Mannol brand. Throughout the second half of 2023 Mannol, through their solicitors, had engaged in legal correspondence over previous attempts by the Managing Director of Aztec Oils Limited to link Mannol to Russia. Following robust responses on behalf of Mannol, a number of posts and comments on public forums were withdrawn.

“Mannol confirms that Wilson Browne Solicitors have again been instructed in relation to a yet further number of potentially defamatory statements. Mannol cannot comment further on that as there is an ongoing legal case being investigated.”

The firm goes on to add that it will be “engaging and cooperating fully” with the TRA investigation.

What is product dumping?

According to the European Parliament, “dumping is when foreign firms dump products at artificially low prices” into a domestic market. Reasons for dumping include “countries unfairly subsidising products or companies having overproduced and are now selling the products at reduced prices in other markets.”

In explaining why product dumping is damaging to trade, they write: “Dumping is a form of unfair competition as products are being sold at a price that does not accurately reflects their cost. It is very difficult for European companies to compete with this and in the worst cases can lead to firms closing and workers losing their job.”




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