World Economy

US defers China aluminum foil dumping decision

A Chinese worker loading aluminium tapes at an aluminium production plant in Huaibei, east China's Anhui province.
STR | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday it would defer issuing its preliminary determination in an anti-dumping duty probe into imports of aluminum foil from China.

The department said in a statement the delay would allow it "to fully analyze information pertaining to China's status as a non-market economy (NME) country."

U.S. aluminum foil producers have filed petitions with the U.S. government accusing Chinese manufacturers of dumping the product in the United States. In 2016, imports of aluminum foil from China were valued at an estimated $389 million, department figures show.

In August, Commerce imposed preliminary anti-subsidy duties of about 17 percent to 81 percent on aluminum foil imported from China.

When it opened the probe in late March, the Commerce Department said it was also launching a review of whether China should be treated as a market economy country, a designation that would effectively limit the calculation of anti-dumping duties on Chinese-made goods.

The terms of China's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 allowed other WTO members to use a third country's prices to assess whether Chinese goods were being sold below cost or fair market value.

That clause expired last December and China has called on the United States and the European Union to drop their use of such surrogate pricing, which has led to higher U.S. anti-dumping duties on imported Chinese goods.

"In all cases, the Department conducts a full and fair assessment of the facts," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "This extension will ensure that the highest standards are followed in this case as we seek to guarantee fair treatment for U.S. workers and businesses."

Commerce said it would issue its preliminary determination in the aluminum foil case - along with a decision on China's non-market economy status - by Nov. 30. A final duty determination is expected 75 days later.