(Bloomberg) -- The European Union threatened to impose tariffs on aluminum extrusions from China after EU-based producers said trade protection was needed to save jobs in the bloc.

The European Commission opened a probe into whether Chinese exporters of aluminum bars, rods, profiles, tubes and pipes sold them in the EU below cost, a practice known as dumping.

The investigation will determine whether these goods from China are “being dumped and whether the dumped imports have caused injury to the union industry,” the commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, said on Friday in the Official Journal.

The inquiry is based on a Jan. 3 dumping complaint by European Aluminium on behalf of seven manufacturers that account for more than a quarter of the EU’s output of aluminum extrusions, according to the commission, which didn’t identify any companies.

“We need anti-dumping duties to be introduced urgently,” Gerd Goetz, director general of Brussels-based European Aluminium, said in an emailed statement after the commission’s announcement. “Increasing amounts of underpriced Chinese exports are dumped on the EU market, with harmful consequences for European aluminum producers.”

Under EU rules, the commission has eight months to decide whether to impose provisional anti-dumping duties against China and 14 months to decide whether to hit the country with “definitive” levies, which usually last for five years.

Separately on Friday, the commission opened a second review of EU steel-import quotas meant to prevent a controversial 25% U.S. tariff on the metal from diverting shipments to the European market and flooding it. The review is due to be completed before June 30.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Peter Chapman

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