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November 5, 2009

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Steel wire draws US duties

THE United States has said it set preliminary duties ranging from 2 percent to 438 percent on hundreds of millions of dollars of imported steel wire decking from China to offset government subsidies.

It was the latest in a growing list of actions against imports from China, the US's second-largest trading partner.

There were five new complaints filed against China in September, a record for a single month.

Since January, the US Commerce Department has launched at least one dozen investigations into charges Chinese companies receive government subsidies that allow them to sell more cheaply than US competitors or "dump" goods in the US at low prices.

The preliminary decision on Tuesday concerns welded-wire rack decking, a product used in industrial and other commercial storage rack systems.

US firms imported about US$317 million of such decking in 2008, an increase of 49 percent from 2006.

The department said it set countervailing duty rates of 2.02 percent for Dalian Huameilong Metal Products Co and 3.13 percent for Dalian Eastfound Metal Products. Both cooperated in its investigation.

But a significant number of Chinese companies did not complete the US government's questionnaire and those companies were given an adverse countervailing duty rate of 437.73 percent "for non-responsiveness," the department said.

Other Chinese companies not formally targeted in the case were given a preliminary countervailing duty of 2.58 percent.

In a related investigation, US wire decking producers AWP Industries Inc, ITC Manufacturing Inc, J&L Wire Cloth Inc, Nashville Wire Products Inc and Wireway Husky Corp have also asked the department to impose anti-dumping duties of 143 percent to 316 percent on the Chinese product.

The department will issue its preliminary decision on the dumping charges in the middle of this month and then make a final decision on duty levels in later months.

The US International Trade Commission must determine whether US producers have been harmed, or are threatened with harm, by the imports for duties to become final.

Importers are required to post bonds or cash deposits equal to the preliminary duties.

The ITC will vote tomorrow whether there is enough proof for the department to proceed with three other probes.


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