Big Story 10

U.S. refrigerant makers allege China dumping, seek duties

A sticker showing a global-warming gas R134a is pictured under the engine bonnet of a Mercedes-Benz A-class car displayed in a dealership of German car manufacturer Daimler in Paris, July 30, 2013. France's move to outlaw sales of several Mercedes models for using an air-conditioner coolant banned by the European Union is not only stopping Parisian Daimler Mercedes agents delivering cars already on order, but is also scaring new clients away from their showrooms. The dispute centres on a German decision to let Daimler continue using R134a - a global-warming gas 1,400 times more potent than carbon dioxide - because of safety concerns about the replacement chemical R1234yf. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (FRANCE - Tags: BUSINESS TRANSPORT) - RTX124XQ

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of U.S. and Mexican refrigerant gas makers asked the U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday to impose anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese-made R134a, the coolant most widely used in automotive air conditioners and home refrigerators.

The petitioners alleged that supplies of the gas imported from China are being sold for less than fair value, and are seeking dumping margins of 150 percent to over 200 percent.

In a similar case involving other refrigerant blends, the Commerce Department imposed preliminary antidumping duties ranging from 92 percent to 210 percent.

James Cannon, a lawyer for the group, said China has overbuilt capacity to produce 200,000 tons of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, enough to supply the U.S. market four times over and is selling the product under cost.

“China has no inherent cost advantage for this product,” he said, adding that the bulk of Chinese production is aimed at the United States.

The Commerce Department is due to make a preliminary decision on whether the North American manufacturers have been injured, and anti-dumping duties could be imposed as early as Aug. 10 if the case runs to the normal deadlines, Cannon added.

The American Hydrofluorocarbon Coalition, which filed the case, includes Amtrol Inc, Arkema Inc, Chemours Co, Honeywell International Inc, Hudson Technologies Inc, Mexichem Fluor Inc, Worthington Industries Inc and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Alan Crosby