Commerce Ministry says U.S. tariffs 'wrong move'

Updated 2018-03-01 09:09:02 China Daily

An employee works at an aluminum foil manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province.

Aluminium foil duties 'against WTO practices'

China took strong exception on Wednesday to the United States decision of imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on aluminium products from the country and said will take necessary measures to defend the interests of its exporters.

The investigation process and ruling made by the U.S. Commerce Department violated the rules of the World Trade Organization and seriously damaged the interests of Chinese manufacturers, said Wang Hejun, head of the trade remedy and investigation bureau at the Ministry of Commerce.

"The U.S. has excessively and unreasonably used trade remedy measures and made the wrong move of collecting high tariffs without any evidence. The result of this case will affect its job market and consumers' welfare," Wang said.

The U.S. agency said on Tuesday in its final ruling that it would impose high anti-dumping duties ranging from 48.64 percent to 106.09 percent and countervailing duties ranging from 17.16 percent to 80.97 percent on aluminum foil products shipped from China.

The U.S. Aluminum Association filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions in March last year to the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission against Chinese exporters.

Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said many U.S. manufacturing businesses not only accounted for the most profitable sectors but also a number of segments with the highest industrial value-added.

"Taking trade remedy measures has been a frequent tool for the U.S. to protect the interests of its companies that are backed by an affordable energy advantage and strong technologies," he said.

The number of trade investigations involving China's exports launched by the U.S. has reached four so far this year, affecting Chinese shipments including rubber bands, solar panels and steel, as Washington has not prudently handled the investigations and overprotected many domestic industries,

China-U.S. trade friction is likely to escalate this year, said Wei Jianguo, vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a leading government think tank. "We are not afraid of such actions. China is fully prepared to cope with uncertainties created by the U.S.," he said.

Xue Rongjiu, deputy director of the Beijing-based China Society for WTO Studies, said the U.S. decision on Chinese aluminium foil products is unfair as its trade authorities have kept adopting the surrogate country approach to bilateral trade relations.

In accordance with Article 15 of the protocol on China's accession to the WTO in 2001, the surrogate country approach expired on Dec 11, 2016. Under the "surrogate country approach", other WTO members could determine whether China is exporting products below market value by comparing their prices with prices and costs in a third country and levy high tariffs against China in anti-dumping investigations.

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