WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday slapped additional duties of 43 to 289 percent on imports of more than $300 million worth of a steel product from China, the U.S. Commerce Department said.
The action against Chinese-made wire decking that the department said is being sold at unfairly low prices inaugurates what is likely to be another year of trade friction between the United States and its top import supplier.
The preliminary anti-dumping duties imposed on Tuesday are in addition to duties ranging from 2 to 438 percent announced by the Commerce Department in November to offset government subsidies given to Chinese wire decking producers.
Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission approved duties ranging from 10 to 16 percent on some $2.74 billion worth of Chinese-made oil well tubing and casing in the biggest U.S. trade case against China.
The same day, the United Steelworkers union and four U.S. companies filed a new petition asking for duties of at least 109 to 274 percent on Chinese-made drill pipe.
The United States imported some $200 million worth of drill pipe from China in 2008.
Wire decking is mainly used in industrial and commercial storage rack systems.
U.S. producers including AWP Industries Inc, ITC Manufacturing Inc, J&L Wire Cloth Inc, Nashville Wire Products Mfg Co Inc, and Wireway Husky Corporation asked for duties last year after imports from China surged to $317 million in 2008 from almost $213 million in 2006.
The Commerce Department set a preliminary antidumping duty of 42.61 percent on Dalian Eastfound Metal Products Co Ltd and its affiliate Dalian Eastfound Material Handling Products.
Three other companies — Dandong Riqian Logistics Equipment Co Ltd, Globsea Co Ltd and Ningbo Xinguang Rack Co Ltd — were hit with a 46.78 percent preliminary duty.
Dalian Huameilong Metal Products Co Ltd got a preliminary rate of 50.95 percent, while all other Chinese producers or exporters received an initial duty of 289 percent.
Companies will have to post bonds or make cash deposits based on the preliminary rates.
The Commerce Department will issue its final calculations of anti-dumping and countervailing duties in the coming months.
Chinese producers and exporters could still escape the duties if the U.S. International Trade Commission determines U.S. producers have not been materially injured, or threatened with material injury, by the imports.
That vote is set for July.
Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Sandra Maler and Steve Gutterman