U.S. sets preliminary duties on China steel products

08:11, October 28, 2009      

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The U.S. government announced preliminary determination in the countervailing duty investigation on imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand from China, according to a statement released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday.

The department said that Chinese producers and exporters of prestressed concrete steel wire stand have received net countervailable subsidies ranging from 7.53 to 12.06 percent.

As a result of this preliminary determination, the Commerce Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect a cash deposit or bond on imports prestressed concrete steel wire strand from China.

In 2008, imports of prestressed concrete steel wire strand from China were valued at an estimated 178 million U.S. dollars, up from 112 million dollars in 2006.

The petition was filed on May 27, 2009. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) made its preliminary determination on July 13.

The Commerce Department is scheduled to issue its final determination in January 2010.

If the Commerce Department makes an affirmative final determination, and the U.S. ITC makes an affirmative final determination that imports of prestressed concrete wire strand from China materially injure, or threaten material injury to, the domestic industry, the department will issue a countervailing duty order in March 2010.

Trade disputes between China and the U.S. increased this year since the U.S. economy has been experiencing the worst recession after the Great Depression in 1930s.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced in September to impose punitive tariffs on all car and light truck tires from China for three years. The Commerce Department launched an investigation that could lead to new tariffs on Chinese seamless steel pipes on Oct.7.

Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said the U.S. punitive tariffs on Chinese tires is a serious act of protection, which will not only damage bilateral trade but also hurt U.S. interests.

"There is rising protectionism in the U.S. against Chinese goods," said Derek Scissors, a research fellow at the Heritage foundation's Asian Studies Center, noting that the harm will be inevitably passed on to consumers.

Even Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke admitted that protectionism is not the right way to solve problem.

"The United States may have a large trade imbalance with the rest of the world right now, but the answer is not to reduce our imports. It's to make and sell more products and services that the rest of the world wants to buy." the Secretary said in August.

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