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Chinese steel industry condemns punitive US trade measure
Published on: 2009-12-31
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BEIJING, Dec. 31 -- The Chinese steel industry has strongly condemned a U.S. move to slap preliminary anti-dumping duties on steel gratings imports, and is likely to appeal against the measure.

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday that it would impose duties of as high as 145.18 percent on imports of steel gratings from China, in a bid to offset "unfairly low" prices and help American counterparts become more competitive.

The Department is expected to take a final decision on the matter next April.

The U.S. government has accused Chinese producers of dumping steel gratings at comparatively lower prices in the U.S. market over the past few years. This has hurt the local industry, it said.

The U.S. imported 60,000 tons of steel gratings worth $91 million in 2008, up from 9,337 tons valued at 9 million U.S. dollars in 2006, the Commerce department statistics showed.

Chinese government data, however, indicated that the country exported no more than 20,000 tons of steel gratings, worth around 20 million U.S. dollars, to the U.S. in 2008.

"The U.S. measure is unreasonable. The figures they provided are incorrect," said Wang Jianguo, a spokesperson of the Ningbo-based Jiulong Machinery Manufacturing, a leading steel gratings producer. "It's nothing but trade protectionism. They are making up a story to convince the world, but they are wrong."

The company is set to appeal against the U.S. government decision in January, although its spokesperson gave no further details.

Jiulong is the largest exporter of steel gratings, and a significant part of that goes to the U.S., Wang said.

In fact, Jiulong and Sinosteel are the only two companies to have actively responded to the U.S. government investigation. They were slapped with much lower anti-dumping duties - of 14.36 percent - by the U.S..

Since steel gratings do not form a big chunk of the exports of steel producers, "the impact (of the measure) on Chinese exporters of steel gratings is not that big," said Yu Liangui, vice-director of the Shanghai-based MySteel Research Institute, a major steel consultancy. "But the concern is, many other (cases) will follow suit," Yu said.

The U.S.-based Alabama Metal Industries and Fisher & Ludlow had asked the U.S. government to investigate the matter in May this year.

Trade remedy cases against China have touched a record this year. By the end of November, a total of 19 nations and regions had initiated 103 cases against Chinese imports, involving a total value of 12 billion U.S. dollars.

The Chinese government too has more actively responded to the measures, appealing to the World Trade Organization on some issues. This year, the nation initiated eight anti-dumping and three anti-subsidy investigations against other economies.

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