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Thursday, February 12, 2015, 12:57

US launches trade probes against China

By Xinhua

 US launches trade probes against China

WASHINGTON - The US Commerce Department announced on Wednesday that it had initiated anti-dumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations against imports of certain uncoated paper from China, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Portugal.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has kept urging Washington to abide by its commitment against protectionism and help maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.

The investigations are in response to a complaint from Domtar Corporation, Finch Paper LLC, Packaging Corporation of America, and PH Glatfelter Company which alleged that papers from China, Australia, Brazil Indonesia and Portugal were sold below the fair value of the products in the US market. The company also claimed that exporters from China and Indonesia also received improper government subsidies. Uncoated paper is typically used for office copy and printer paper, books, business forms, instruction manuals, inserts, flyers, brochures and maps.

This came on a day the US declared it will challenge China at the World Trade Organization, alleging that the Chinese government unfairly subsidizes exports in seven industries.

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said Wednesday that China designates certain export companies as "demonstration bases'' that receive free or discounted services from suppliers. The US says China paid the suppliers almost US$1 billion over three years to provide those services.

The US says the subsidies violate WTO rules. The move is the first step toward bringing a formal case against China. The office of US Trade Representative Michael Froman said the US will try to reach a settlement with China at the WTO.

Zhu Haiquan, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said: "We hope the trade disputes can be properly dealt with under (the) WTO dispute settlement mechanism.''

The International Trade Commission (ITC), the US trade authority, was scheduled to make its preliminary inquiry determinations on uncoated paper AD and CVD around March 9.

The probes will continue if the ITC determines that the imports of such products materially injure or threaten the domestic industry of the United States. The Commerce Department will then make its preliminary determinations of CVD in April, and AD in June.

The value of imports of these products from China were estimated at about US$32 million in 2013, according to US official data.

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