November 6, 2009 / 4:41 AM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: Sino-U.S. trade disputes pile up

BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday slapped preliminary anti-dumping duties ranging up to 99 percent on $2.63 billion in Chinese-made oil well pipe in the biggest U.S. trade action against China.

The Commerce Department decision, which adds to countervailing duties announced on September 9, was taken a week before President Barack Obama heads to Asia, with stops in Shanghai and Beijing.

Here are some of the disputes dogging China-U.S. trade:

STEEL PIPES

Thursday’s anti-dumping duties include a 36.53 percent levy on “oil country tubular goods” produced or exported by Tianjin Pipe International Economic and Trading Corp, Zhejiang Jianli Co, Wuxi Seamless Pipe Co and unspecified other companies.

The Commerce Department also set a preliminary 99.14 percent “China-wide” anti-dumping duty on other producers and exporters, but exempted Jiangsu Changbao Steel Co.

That is in addition to countervailing duties imposed on September 9, ranging from 10.90 percent to 30.69 percent. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce denounced the move as protectionist and the Chinese firms involved said they might appeal [ID:nSP270652].

China has also filed a World Trade Organization challenge to U.S. anti-dumping duties on certain types of steel pipes, pneumatic off-road tires and woven sacks. China is increasingly turning to the WTO to keep markets open to its products.

TYRES

The Obama administration imposed safeguard duties on Chinese-made tires, after a complaint by unions that low-priced Chinese imports were forcing U.S. factories to close. [ID:nSP459289]. China requested consultations on the duties, a preliminary step toward a WTO complaint.

The duty of 35 percent took effect on September 26 and added to an existing 4 percent duty. The extra duty would fall to 30 percent in the second year and 25 percent in the third year.

POULTRY

China launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into imports of U.S. chicken parts and automotive parts, in response to the U.S. tire duties.

U.S. breeders like Tyson Foods Inc sell chicken feet and wings, not consumed in the United States, to China where they are delicacies, helping pad their profit margin on each chicken. The parts sell for about 40 U.S. cents per pound in China, compared with about 2 cents in the United States.

After China launched a WTO case over U.S. legislation forbidding the U.S. government from beginning the process of certifying Chinese cooked poultry exporters, the latest Congress appropriations bill no longer contains that provision.

BLANKETS, BRICK

A U.S. trade panel in August approved an investigation into whether imports of electric blankets made in China materially injured or threatened to injure U.S. manufacturers.

On September 11, the U.S. International Trade Commission recommended the U.S. Department of Commerce conduct a countervailing duty and anti-dumping duty investigation into Chinese-made magnesia carbon brick, a steelmaking material.

The U.S. International Trade Commission votes on Friday whether to approve three more probes covering coated paper, certain steel fasteners and sodium and potassium phosphate salts from China.

RAW MATERIALS

The European Union and the United States are arguing to the WTO that Chinese export restrictions, including taxes and quotas, on several raw materials unfairly elevate the international price, while keeping input prices cheaper for manufacturers in China.

DISTRIBUTION SERVICES AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

In August, a WTO panel found in favor of the United States, which claimed that Chinese curbs on importing and distributing foreign publications and audiovisual products violated its WTO commitments. China may appeal.

Both the United States and China claimed victory earlier this year when a WTO panel found that China had failed to protect and enforce intellectual property rights, but rejected the U.S. contention that China sets the threshold for prosecuting piracy so high that it is ineffective. China noted the findings did not challenge its right to censor content.

GRANTS, LOANS AND OTHER INCENTIVES

The United States, Mexico and Guatemala requested WTO consultations regarding certain grants, loans and other incentives to encourage exports of Chinese brands.

Editing by Ron Popeski

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