Tue, May 30, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Finance ministry slaps huge tariffs on Chinese towels

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Finance decided yesterday to levy stiff anti-dumping duties on Chinese towel imports beginning next month, citing damage to the local towel industry. Chinese towels will be slapped with a provisional 237.7 percent duty on the top of an existing tariff of 10.5 percent -- for a record-high total tariff.

"Evidence shows that the imports caused substantial damage to the nation's towel industry before and during the anti-dumping investigation process," Chien Liang-chi (簡良機), director general of the ministry's Customs Administration, told a media briefing yesterday, citing preliminary results of a probe by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Two Chinese towelmakers, including one China-based Taiwanese firm, will only face extra tariffs at 107.3 percent and 109.3 percent for their products, after they responded to the ministry's survey and provided import data on quantity and prices, the ministry said.

The ruling will take effect on Thursday and could last for as long as four months, until the antidumping investigation is completed. The authority began its investigation on March 1 and polled top nine Chinese towelmakers who produce 35 percent of Chinese towels imported into Taiwan.

This is the first antidumping action against Chinese imports since Taiwan acceded to the WTO in 2002.

Besides China, Taiwan is also imposing antidumping duties on three other countries' products: cement from South Korea and the Philippines and art paper imports from Japan, according to the finance ministry.

Taiwanese towelmakers filed a request for relief measures in the face of an influx of cheaper Chinese imports last August and took to the streets in March.

Statistics compiled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs show that the nation's towel production dropped to 770,000kg last year from 1.1 million kilograms in 2001.

The authorities are required to complete the antidumping investigations and

make a final decision within 110 days after the finance ministry's

preliminary ruling, which in this case could fall in late September.

The finance ministry said it did not rule out the possibility of conducting

spot inspections in China to facilitate their investigation, Chien said.

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