China links foil row to fu­ture of US trade Alu­minum firms, in­dus­try body set to challenge any anti-dump­ing mea­sures

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By JING SHUIYU jing­shuiyu@chi­

China urged the United States to act “pru­dently” and make a fair rul­ing on planned anti-dump­ing du­ties on Chinese alu­minum foil. That is nec­es­sary to avoid any po­ten­tial neg­a­tive impact of such du­ties on bi­lat­eral trade ties, said the Min­istry of Com­merce on Thurs­day.

The China Non­fer­rous Me­tals In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion and 12 ma­jor alu­minum foil pro­duc­ers are pre­par­ing to launch a le­gal challenge to en­sure their rights in free trade, a source from Jiangsu Zhongji Lam­i­na­tion Ma­te­ri­als Co Ltd, which is in­volved in the case, said on con­di­tions of anonymity.

“We have re­ceived the email from the China Non­fer­rous Me­tals In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion on this is­sue. We are go­ing to en­gage law firms to prove there is no ac­tual dam­age done to the US side,” the per­son said.

Mo Xinda, di­rec­tor of the light metal de­part­ment at the China Non­fer­rous Me­tals In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, said the process is still un­der way, but de­clined to elab­o­rate.

The US De­part­ment of Com­merce pub­lished pre­lim­i­nary find­ings of a probe on Tues­day, cit­ing that some Chinese foil pro­duc­ers have re­ceived sub­si­dies be­tween 16.56 per­cent and 80.97 per­cent of their ex­port busi­ness.

Puni­tive du­ties will be im­posed if both the US De­part­ment of Com­merce and the US In­ter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion make af­fir­ma­tive fi­nal rul­ings.

Some of the US au­thor­i­ties’ al­le­ga­tions were “ground­less,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment pub­lished on the web­site of the Min­istry of Com­merce, which was at­trib­uted to Wang He­jun, head of the min­istry’s trade rem­edy and in­ves­ti­ga­tion bureau.

“Ig­nor­ing the of­fers of co­op­er­a­tion from the Chinese gov­ern­ment and com­pa­nies, the US in­ves­tiga­tive in­sti­tu­tions charged ground­lessly that Chinese pri­mary alu­minum and ther­mal coal pro­duc­ers were ‘pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions,’ and pro­vided ‘sub­si­dies’ to down­stream en­ter­prises,” Wang said in the state­ment.

The US gov­ern­ment branches un­rea­son­ably la­beled Chinese com­mer­cial banks as “pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions”, re­gard- less of the fact that they have been mar­ket-ori­ented, Wang said.

Mean­while, the US is prob­ing to fig­ure if it should curb alu­minum imports from China un­der the rarely used Sec­tion 232 of the Trade Ex­pan­sion Act of 1962, which would al­low re­stric­tions on imports for na­tional se­cu­rity rea­sons.

The Chinese com­merce min­istry state­ment said the coun­try is highly con­cerned about the ac­tion, as these two in­ves­ti­ga­tions would have “sig­nif­i­cant impact” on alu­minum trade.

The US alu­minum foil imports from China to­taled $389 mil­lion in 2016, ac­cord­ing to data from the US Com­merce De­part­ment.

China’s alu­minum in­dus­try is mar­ket-ori­ented and com­mer­cial­ized, Com­merce Min­istry spokesman Gao Feng said at a news con­fer­ence in late July.

Alu­minum prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ers in China, which is a ma­jor ex­porter, mainly ex­port to coun­tries and re­gions fac­ing short­ages, with a goal to sup­port their lo­cal econ­omy, Gao said.

The dif­fi­cul­ties fac­ing the alu­minum in­dus­try are a global prob­lem, a com­mon challenge that needs to be tack­led through shared ef­forts, he said.

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