China economy

China hits back at ‘discriminatory’ US trade move ahead of Trump visit

Beijing urges Americans to correct its ‘mistake’ after aluminium foil hit with anti-dumping duties

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 5:48pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 10:18pm

China has said it was “strongly dissatisfied” with the US decision to impose anti-dumping duties ranging from 97 per cent to 162 per cent on Chinese aluminium foil, urging Washington to correct its “mistaken methods”.

The preliminary ruling on Friday was a victory for American aluminium foil makers who filed a complaint with the Commerce Department accusing Chinese producers of dumping foil into the US market at below cost or fair market value.

The duties were imposed at a sensitive time as US President Donald Trump prepares to visit China as part of next month’s tour of Asia.

In 2016, US aluminium foil imports from China were valued at US$389 million, according to the Commerce Department, which said it would issue its final determination for the duties on February 23.

Chinese Commerce Ministry official Wang Hejun said in a statement late on Saturday that the United States was still using “discriminatory” surrogate country pricing methods to put high duties on Chinese goods.

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The United States is not only harming the interests of Chinese companies, but also damaging the authority of multilateral trade rules, Wang said.

“We urge the United States to earnestly fulfil its international obligations, and take real action to correct its mistaken methods,” Wang said, adding that China would take steps to protect Chinese companies’ legal rights.

Beijing complains that the United States uses a now expired clause in China’s 2001 World Trade Organisation accession deal that for years allowed other WTO members to use a third country’s prices to assess whether Chinese goods were being dumped.

The US Commerce Department said the aluminium foil duties were based on evidence using its standard methodology for determining dumping duties against non-market economies.

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Washington has determined in the past that such measures were needed because China failed the test of whether it operates as a market economy, given the government’s control over price and output decisions of enterprises and other factors, such as the extent to which its currency is convertible.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has made enforcement of trade laws a top priority.

Between January 20, the day Trump took office, and October 25 the Commerce Department said it had initiated 77 anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations – up 61 per cent from the previous year.