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China urges caution in US dumping case

Zhong Nan and Ren Xiaojin
Updated: Mar 11,2017 9:48 AM     China Daily

Employees produce electronic aluminium foil products at a factory in Hezhou, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.[Photo/Xinhua]

China on March 10 urged the United States to act prudently in the antidumping case filed by a US industry body against Chinese aluminium foil product exporters, the first such case this year.

The Chinese commerce ministry’s call to its US counterpart came after the Aluminum Association of the US on March 9 filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions to the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission against Chinese exporters.

The association claimed that certain aluminum foil products from China are “unfairly traded imports” and have “damaged domestic business”.

The petition concerns the aluminum foil used in a variety of daily and industrial applications, including household foil, flexible and semirigid cookware, product packaging and automotive manufacturing.

Wang Hejun, head of the trade remedy and investigation bureau at the Ministry of Commerce, said China and the US have substantial potential to collaborate in aluminum foil trade.

“The US needs to import premium aluminum foil products from China to meet its domestic demand while exporting theirs to China. Therefore, China hopes the US government will not readily resort to exercising trade remedy measures,” said Wang.

The US manufacturers have demanded that Chinese imports should be subjected to antidumping margins ranging from 38 percent to more than 134 percent of the value of the imported aluminum foil.

Their countervailing duty petition alleged that Chinese producers benefit from 27 separate government subsidy programs.

“Collaboration is the only way to achieve a win-win situation, and the industry (segments) from both sides need to solve their problem via negotiations,” said Wang.

He urged the US trade authorities to act cautiously and avoid launching the charges that could damage mutual interests.

The US-produced aluminum foils were able to meet about 84 percent of all domestic demand in the US 12 years ago. Today, that figure has dropped to 69 percent, data from the Aluminum Association show.

The association represents the US and foreign-based companies and their suppliers throughout the value chain, from primary production to value-added products to recycling.

Ma Yu, a researcher at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the US manufacturing businesses not only accounted for the most profitable sectors but also a number of segments with the highest industrial value-added. They also actively diverted low-end segments to global markets.

“Taking trade remedy measures has been a frequent recourse for the US to protect the interests of its companies that are backed by affordable energy advantage and strong technologies,” said Ma.