The U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday that it has set preliminary antidumping duties ( AD) on imports of certain seamless pipe from China, a move that might escalate trade disputes between the two countries.
The department said it "preliminarily determined that Chinese producers/exporters have sold seamless pipe in the United States at 32.39 to 98.37 percent less than fair value."
As a result of this preliminary determination, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect a cash deposit or bond based on these preliminary rates.
The products covered by this investigation are suitable for the conveyance of water, steam, petrochemicals, oil products, natural gas, and other liquids and gasses in industrial piping systems.
Imports of certain seamless pipe from China were valued at an estimated 182.3 million U.S. dollars in 2009, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
Commerce said that it is currently scheduled to make its final determination in September 2010.
If Commerce makes an affirmative final determination, and the U. S. International Trade Commission makes an affirmative final determination that imports of certain seamless pipe salts from China materially injures, or threaten material injury to, the domestic industry, Commerce will issue an antidumping duty order.
The new case followed the Commerce Department's initiation of antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty investigation on Chinese aluminum extrusions on Wednesday.
The protectionist moves by the Obama administration will ultimately hurt the U.S.-China trade relations, which are becoming more and more important due to the global financial crisis, economists warned.
The onset of the global recession appears to have set off an increase in trade disputes around the world.
Globally, new requests for protection from imports in the first half of 2009 are up 18.5 percent over the first half of 2008, according to the World Bank-sponsored Global Anti-dumping Database organized by Chad P. Bown, a Brandeis University economics professor.
That increase follows a 44 percent increase in new investigations in 2008. And China has become the main target of the rising protectionism.