The US has ruled that tool chests imported from China have been subsidized and is slapping anti-subsidy duties on them. Trump’s tough stance on the Chinese appears to be kicking in, despite warmer words for Beijing.
The duties ranging from 14.03 percent to 95.96 percent will take effect for a maximum of five years if the US International Trade Commission finds the imports harm or are likely to harm US producers when it makes its final decision around January 8, the US Commerce Department said in a statement.
From January 20 to September 11, the department initiated 62 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, up 41 percent from the same period a year earlier, it said.
Trump's mixed signals
US President Donald Trump has said his administration will clamp down on what it considers unfair Chinese subsidies for goods exported to the US.
On a recent visit to China, though, he had rolled back on his earlier tough US stance on trade with China.
China holds a majority of US sovereign debt, credit which is used by Americans in many cases to buy - often subsidized - Chinese products. This symbiotic relationship has helped hold down inflation in the US and also underpins its model of consumption-led and cheap money growth.
China, meanwhile, has been looking at increasing domestic consumption as a way of reducing its dependence on US consumer demand.
The department opened investigations into possible dumping and subsidization of imports of tool chests and cabinets from China and Vietnam in May, following a petition from Missouri-based Waterloo Industries, a subsidiary of Fortune Brands and Home Security, which accounts for about half of domestic production of tool chests and cabinets.
In an anti-dumping investigation, the department said on November 13 it had made a preliminary finding certain companies from China were selling the tool chests on the US market at 90.40 percent to 168.93 percent below fair value.
US imports of tool chests from China and Vietnam were $990 million (€880 million) in 2016, the department said.
The department calculated final countervailing duty rates of 15.09 percent for Jiangsu Tongrun Equipment Technology, 14.03 percent for Zhongshan Geelong Manufacturing and 14.39 percent for all other producers or exporters in China that responded to its enquiries.
Those companies that did not respond to the department's questionnaire were assigned a final subsidy rate of 95.96 percent, the department said.
jbh/hg (Reuters, dpa)