US imposes anti-dumping duties on Chinese aluminium foil in latest dispute over trade

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 October, 2017, 6:46am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 October, 2017, 6:46am

The US imposed duties on imports of aluminium foil from China, ratcheting up trade tensions between the world’s largest economies before President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing next month.

The Commerce Department said on Friday it would impose preliminary import duties in the range of 96.81 per cent to 162.24 per cent on Chinese aluminium foil, saying the goods are being sold at unfairly low prices.

In August, Commerce imposed preliminary duties on Chinese aluminium foil, ranging from 16.56 per cent to 80.97 per cent, citing state subsidies for the domestic industry that disadvantage American products.

The move indicates that the Trump administration intends to keep up the pressure on China as its efforts to shrink America’s trade deficit have seen little success.

The Aluminium Association Trade Enforcement Working Group, representing US producers, is the petitioner in the countervailing duty and an anti-dumping case.

Friday’s decision on anti-dumping duties had been postponed earlier this month to allow more time to determine whether China should be considered a non-market economy, which could give the US more flexibility in how they calculate tariffs to impose on Chinese products. Commerce will make a final determination on anti-dumping on February 23.

Trump has cited the US’s roughly US$350 billion trade deficit with China as evidence of the uneven playing field, and he’s vowed to crack down on unfair trade practises. So far, the administration has failed to deliver on tougher measures as it seeks stronger cooperation from China to combat North Korea.

China urges US to act ‘prudently’ in aluminium foil dispute

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has launched a probe into China’s stainless steel flanges for alleged unfair subsidies, while the US Trade Representative is investigating China’s intellectual-property practises.

In addition, Commerce is examining aluminium imports from China and other foreign nations under the seldom-used Section 232 of the 1960s trade law that allows for tariffs on imports that pose a national security risk.

Trump is expected to travel to Asia from November 3 to 14, with the trip including stops in China, where he’ll meet President Xi Jinping, as well as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines.