(Adds Ross quote, background on case)
WASHINGTON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday it had made a preliminary finding that imports of tool chests and cabinets from China are subsidized, and it imposed countervailing duties ranging from 17.32 percent to 32.07 percent.
The case follows a petition from Missouri-based Waterloo Industries Inc, a subsidiary of Fortune Brands and Home Security Inc that says it accounts for more than half of domestic production.
In 2016, imports of tool chests from China totaled $990 million.
The subsidization of goods by foreign governments is something the Trump administration takes very seriously, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement announcing the decision.
The Department of Commerce will continue to stand up for American workers and businesses in order to ensure that China does not take advantage of the most open market in the world, Ross said.
If the department finds the products are being dumped and/or subsidized, it will set duties that would go into place if the International Trade Commission subsequently affirms its finding that U.S. producers are being harmed.
Dumping margins on the products from China are alleged to be 159.99 percent, the Commerce Department said in May.
Tool chests typically have bodies made of carbon, alloy, and/or stainless steel and may include drawers, trim, or other components made of other metal or non-metal materials, it said.
Under President Donald Trump's administration from Jan. 20 through Sept. 11 this year, the department has initiated 62 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, up 41 percent from the same period a year earlier, the statement said. (Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Jonathan Oatis)