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US finds China aluminium foil subsidised, imposes duties
[WASHINGTON] The US Commerce Department said on Tuesday it made a preliminary finding that imports of aluminium foil from China are subsidised, and it imposed countervailing duties ranging from 16.56 per cent to 80.97 per cent.
US aluminium foil producers had filed petitions with the US government accusing Chinese producers of receiving subsidies and of "dumping" the product in the United States market, the first such case since President Donald Trump took office.
In 2016, imports of aluminium foil from China were valued at an estimated US$389 million, Commerce Department figures show.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement announcing the decision that the Trump administration "will not stand idly by as harmful trade practices from foreign nations attempt to take advantage of our essential industries, workers and businesses."
The Aluminum Association, a US industry lobby group, applauded the move. "This is an important step to begin restoring a level playing field for US aluminium foil production, an industry that supports more than 20,000 direct, indirect and induced American jobs and accounts for US$6.8 billion in economic activity," Association President Heidi Brock said in a statement. "US aluminium foil producers are among the most competitive producers in the world, but they cannot compete against products that are subsidised by the Chinese government and sold at unfairly low prices," it said.
The Commerce Department said it calculated preliminary subsidy rates of 28.33 per cent for Dingsheng Aluminum Industries (Hong Kong) Trading Co Ltd and 16.56 per cent for Jiangsu Zhongji Lamination Materials Co Ltd, the only two companies that participated in the probe.
Three other China-based companies that failed to provide requested information or were found to give incorrect information about their status as exporters faced higher duties, it said. Loften Aluminum (Hong Kong) Ltd, Manakin Industries LLC and Suzhou Manakin Aluminum Processing Technology Co Ltd were all slapped with 80.97 per cent anti-subsidy duties.
The next step in the trade action is a preliminary anti-dumping determination by the Commerce Department expected on Oct 5.
The case is separate from the department's Aluminum 232 investigation launched in April into whether China's aluminium overcapacity, dumping, illegal subsidies and other factors threaten US economic security and military preparedness.