Four Chinese firms, one American company cited in investigation
The U.S. Commerce Department announced Tuesday it would impose duties on aluminum foil from China at rates from 16.56 percent to 80.97 percent based on the subsidies the exporters received from the Chinese government, according to its preliminary finding.
The department said it will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to begin collecting cash deposits from importers of aluminum foil from China based on preliminary countervailing subsidy rates.
China's Ministry of Commerce did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
Four Chinese exporters are named on the list of the investigation. The name of the U.S. importer Manakin Industries LLC also appeared.
"Manakin Industries LLC claimed to only be an importer, however, our analysis also revealed that Manakin Industries and Suzhou Manakin Aluminum Processing Technology Co (Suzhou Manakin) worked jointly to export Chinese aluminum foil to the U.S.," the department said.
A general manager of Suzhou Manakin who is surnamed Chen said, "We export aluminum foil to Manakin Industries with an annual amount of 3,000 tons, comprising about 10 percent of the whole imported amount of the U.S. firm."
Chen told the Global Times Wednesday that "Manakin Industries is a U.S. firm and thus should not have been on the list. Actually the department had found it made a mistake putting it there but continued to do so."
He noted Suzhou Manakin was embroiled in the case due to its close business relationship with Manakin Industries, which has a striking amount of aluminum foil imports.
The U.S. Commerce Department is scheduled to announce its final determination on or about October 23, unless the statutory deadline is extended.
"We're still communicating with our American lawyer to handle the case and will continue to appeal further before the final ruling," Chen noted.
Zeng Libin, head of China Aluminum Association, told the Global Times on Wednesday that China's aluminum industry has been developing rapidly over the past decade or more, during which period value-added tax rebates at the rate of 15 percent are normal .
"The aluminum foil case could be categorized as typical of the frequent trade friction in the last two or three years between China and the U.S., as trade protectionism is rising since U.S. President Donald Trump took office," Zeng said.
In 2016, imports of aluminum foil from China were valued at an estimated 9 million, data from the U.S. Commerce Department showed.
"Most of China's exported aluminum products stay at the medium- to low-level for civil use, resulting in direct competition with U.S. aluminum foil producers in this market segment," Zeng said.