Thu, Mar 01, 2018 - Page 10 News List

China warns on US tariffs on imports of aluminum foil

AFP, WASHINGTON

The US on Tuesday upheld tariffs imposed last year on imports of Chinese aluminum foil valued at nearly US$400 million a year, angering Beijing which vowed to hit back.

The decision intensified the mounting trade confrontation between Beijing and Washington, which is considering far-reaching duties on Chinese goods in an effort to reduce the US trade deficit.

However, the move was unrelated to the White House’s imminent decision on whether to retaliate against high imports of aluminum and steel, which the US Department of Commerce claims are undermining US national security preparedness.

The agency said Chinese manufacturers have been dumping aluminum foil into the US market at below market price, with margins between 48.6 percent and 106.9 percent.

The product also benefited from unfair subsidies at rates as high as 80.9 percent.

“This administration is committed to trade that is fair and reciprocal, and we will not allow American workers and businesses to be harmed by unfair imports,” US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “This decision comes after a transparent process with a thorough and unbiased review of the facts.”

China has warned that Washington risks undermining vital trade relations by threatening to impose tariffs on its exports, with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce voicing “strong discontent” over the action on aluminum foil.

Ministry official Wang Hejun (王賀軍) said in a statement that the “unreasonable overuse of trade remedy measures by the US side” would fail to revive the nation’s aluminum foil industry, affect jobs in the US and hurt consumers there.

“China will take necessary measures to safeguard its own legitimate rights and interests,” Wang said.

Such actions also increase the chances of a tit-for-tat trade war, analysts said.

The Commerce Department investigators had reached preliminary findings in August and in October last year that Chinese exporters were dumping aluminum foil, worth an estimated US$389 million in 2016, on the US market.

US customs authorities were instructed to collect cash deposits on imports at the time.

The independent US International Trade Commission is due to vote next month on the separate question of whether US industry has been harmed by the imports.

Should the commission fail to find in the affirmative, the tariffs are to be canceled.

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