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Anti-dumping investigation launched into certain thermoplastic imports

By LIU ZHIHUA and ZHONG NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-19 23:53
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China initiated on Sunday an anti-dumping probe into imports of polyformaldehyde copolymer originating from the European Union, the United States, Japan and China's Taiwan region, according to an online announcement by the Ministry of Commerce.

Conforming with World Trade Organization rules, the move demonstrates China's readiness to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of its enterprises as well as promote fair market competition, aiming to create a more enabling development environment for enterprises at home and abroad, experts said.

Polyformaldehyde copolymer is an engineering thermoplastic that in some cases can replace metals such as copper, zinc, tin and lead. It is widely used in items ranging from automotive parts, electronic appliances and industrial machinery, to daily necessities such as sports equipment, medical devices, pipes and construction materials.

The probe came on the heels of the groundless tariff hikes by the US on Chinese imports such as electric vehicles and the so-called anti-subsidy investigation by the EU into Chinese electric vehicle exports.

The ministry said the probe is in response to an application filed by several domestic producers on April 22. They claimed that some entities associated with the chemical producers in South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia have significantly increased chemical exports from the EU, the US, Japan and China's Taiwan to the Chinese mainland, at prices below fair value, causing substantial damage to the local industry.

Such practices aim to shun the anti-dumping tariffs that China has imposed on such chemical imports from South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia since 2017, according to the application.

Liu Ying, a researcher and director of the cooperative research department of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, said that China's launch of the investigation is law-abiding and well-grounded, aiming to safeguard fair competition in the global polyformaldehyde copolymer sector. This is in comparison with some countries that abuse tariffs for political purposes or self-serving economic agendas at the cost of global industrial and supply chain safety and stability, Liu said.

"There is already rich evidence suggesting that the unfair trade practices by those foreign exporters are causing damage to the local industry, and the investigation will likely confirm such conclusions. China will likely take countermeasures to such anti-dumping practices," Liu said.

"The move itself is not a countermeasure to the US' groundless tariff hikes and the EU's anti-subsidy investigation against China, but demonstrates China's determination to safeguard its own rights and interests," Liu said, adding that "China has many tools and options as countermeasures to deal with the groundless US tariff increases against Chinese products and suppression of Chinese enterprises and industries".

Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that as a major supplier and consumer, China is a key link in global chemical industrial and supply chains. The country's efforts to ensure fair competition will benefit not only domestic players but also global ones, he said.

The probe will cover trade activities between Jan 1 and Dec 31, 2023, and is expected to conclude before May 19, 2025, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Under special circumstances, the investigation could be extended by six months, the ministry said.

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