U.S. trade panel votes to continue anti-dumping investigations against Chinese aluminum products

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A U.S. trade panel voted Friday to continue anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duty investigations against Chinese aluminum products despite China’s strong dissatisfaction with the move.

“There is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value,” said the United States International Trade Commission (USITC)in a statement.

As a result of the trade panel’s affirmative determinations, the U.S. Commerce Department will continue its investigations against Chinese aluminum products, with its preliminary anti-subsidy duty determination due in February and its anti-dumping duty determinations due in April, according to the USITC.

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) had expressed strong dissatisfaction with the U.S. Commerce Department’s probe against Chinese aluminum products, launched last November, using a rarely-used “self-initiation” tactic.

That marked the first time in the past 25 years that the U.S. government had launched such investigations without a request from a U.S. company or industry.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with the trade protectionism tendency shown in the U.S. move,” said Wang Hejun, head of the MOC’s trade remedy and investigation bureau, warning “it will hurt both Chinese and U.S. interests to artificially impede the normal order of bilateral aluminum trade.”

Wang said he hopes the United States will abide by the consensus reached by Chinese and U.S. leaders on economic and trade cooperation and meet China halfway to support healthy and stable development of bilateral economic ties.

China will take necessary measures to defend the rights of its own enterprises, he said.

Cao Hui, a trade lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, an international law firm, told Xinhua that the problem with self-initiated cases is that the Commerce Department takes on the dual roles of the plaintiff and the arbiter, which might lead to a lack of impartiality in the investigations.

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