Wheels made by a Chinese manufacturer on display at an auto parts trade show in Beijing. [Photo / China Daily]
BEIJING - The United States has officially launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidies probe into imports of Chinese-made steel wheels, according to an industry association and the companies involved.
It's the first time the US has launched an investigation into Chinese automobile-components, according to the China Chamber of Commerce of Imports and Exports of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME).
A claim filed by the US steel-rim and wheel makers - Accuride Corp and Hayes Lemmerz International Inc - prompted the US International Trade Commission (USITC) and the Department of Commerce (DOC) to open the investigation, which began on April 5, according to the CCCME.
Around 16 companies are involved, said Chen Huaisheng, a lawyer for the CCCME, who said the value of 2010 Chinese steel-wheel exports to the US is estimated to be less than $20 million.
Xingmin Wheel Co Ltd, a Shandong-based company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, has set up a legal team to deal with the investigation, said Cui Jihe, the secretary of the board.
"We have confidence in the competitiveness of our products overseas and this investigation won't make us change our strategy," Cui said.
"The wheel makers who launched the petition might have felt a growing threat from their Chinese rivals, who can supply both high quality and a competitive price," he said.
Another of those involved is Zhejiang Jingu Co Limited, which supplies Chrysler Group LLC and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz unit, according to its website.
Zhejiang Jingu, which is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, has an annual production capacity of 15 million wheel sets. Its overseas operations manager, Ye Xiu, said the company is preparing for legal proceedings and is also seeking opportunities in other markets to offset the possible loss of its US business.
Three major US importers have voiced opposition to the investigation and will attend the relevant hearings to further declare their stand, according to the CCCME.