U.S. sets preliminary duties of up to 222% on Chinese ceramic tile

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday that it found that imports of ceramic tile from China are unfairly subsidized and it imposed preliminary duties on them ranging from about 104% to 222%.

The decision affects tile imports worth about $483.1 million (390.95 million pounds) in 2018, the Commerce Department said in a statement.

The agency opened its anti-subsidy and anti-dumping investigation of Chinese tile imports in May after receiving a petition from a coalition of eight U.S. tile producers claiming injury.

Commerce has yet to issue a preliminary determination in the anti-dumping investigation, but said it initially had proposed anti-dumping duties of 127% to 356%, which could be imposed on top of the anti-subsidy duties.

Glazed ceramic floor and wall tiles from China, which are popular items at major U.S. home supply chains, including Home Depot HD.N, Lowe's LOW.N and Floor & Decor FND.N, are also currently subject to a 25% tariff as part of the U.S. Trade Representative's "Section 301" penalties on China. This rate is scheduled to increase to 30% on Oct. 1.

Commerce said it would impose a preliminary anti-subsidy duty of 222.24% on tile from Temgoo International Trading Ltd and 103.77% on all other Chinese ceramic tile exporters and producers.

A final determination in the investigation is expected around Jan. 21, 2020. The U.S. International Trade Commission is working on a separate probe to determine whether U.S. producers suffered injury from the Chinese imports.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Susan Fenton and Dan Grebler