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China to move WTO for settlement of steel duty dispute with US

13 July 2016

China would use the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process to defend its interests over an unreasonable decision by the US on steel subsidies, China's ministry of commerce (MoC) said today.

According to the Chinese ministry, the US deliberately misinterpreted WTO rules after the US commerce department ruled in favour of anti-dumping measures for imports of stainless steel sheets from China - increasing an anti-subsidy tax rate of 57.3 per cent to 193.92 per cent on Monday.

The US demanded that the Chinese steel maker submit non-essential materials, such as CPC member ID and credentials, and imposed a high tax rate by deeming all raw material providers to be public institutions, the statement added.

The US also levied high taxes on Chinese stainless steel, cold rolled steel, corrosion- and serving as an effective "rejection of Chinese steel products," the statement pointed out.

The statement added that the US move ran counter to a consensus reached by the commerce ministers of G20 member countries last weekend to avoid protectionism. The statement added that China called on the US to act in line with WTO rules and work for a fairer global trade environment.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Commerce announced its preliminary determination that imports of stainless steel sheet and strip ("SSSS") from China were benefiting from unfair government subsidies, according to a release sourced from Kelly Drye & Warren LLP by PR Newswire. As a result, it will instruct US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to begin asking US importers of SSSS from China to deposit estimated countervailing duties at the time of importation. Further, based on its previously announced preliminary affirmative critical circumstances determination, the commerce department will instruct CBP to suspend liquidation of all entries of SSSS from China that were imported into the US on or after the date, that is, 90 days prior the date of publication in the Federal Register of the affirmative preliminary countervailing duty determination, and to require US importers to post security equal to the preliminary subsidy rates on those entries.

The commerce department's determination follows the filing, on 12 February, 2016, of antidumping and countervailing duty petitions by domestic producers AK Steel Corporation Allegheny Ludlum, ATI Flat Rolled Products, Allegheny Technologies Company, North American Stainless, and Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC.

Based on information gathered to date, the commerce department calculated a preliminary subsidy margin of 57.30 per cent of the value of the imported SSSS for Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co Ltd, the sole Chinese respondent that was analysed by the agency. 

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