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Covering trade & transport, with tips on using import-export data to advantage

Trade Beat Goes On …

Category: Trade Policy

Moves and countermoves by China, US; end of a trade war; start of an FTA

In a few crowded weeks, there have been new developments in several of the stories we’ve covered here:

Start with China Digging into US Green Subsidies. In July, we wondered whether China’s antidumping/countervailing duty investigation into polysilicon imports from the US raised a legitimate issue or was just a retaliatory move (for US inquiries into solar imports from China – see below).

Whatever the motivation, the scope of the investigation has broadened.

On November 26, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced it would pursue AD/CVD investigations of imports of solar-grade polysilicon from the US, the Republic of Korea and the European Union. The Ministry said that China had imported 9,300 tons of polysilicon from the EU in first-half 2012, an increase of 30.8% over first-half 2011, while the average price dropped 47.5%. The new case involving the EU follows the anti-dumping probe into polysilicon imports from the US and Korea launched July 20. The two cases will now be combined and an “accumulative evaluation” issued by the Ministry.

A year ago, US Solar Companies Sought Relief in the form of countervailing and antidumping duties on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules imported from China. In March, the Department of Commerce made a preliminary determination that the Chinese products were subsidized and so subject to countervailing duties. (See No Winner in Chinese Solar Case.)

On November 7, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) concluded that the US industry is materially injured by the Chinese imports. Antidumping as well as countervailing duties will be imposed.

Last year at this time we were also writing about the Rising Tide of Honey Laundering, an unintended consequence of steep tariffs imposed by the US in 2001, and an outright ban by the EU in 2002, on Chinese honey.

On November 19, the ITC decided NOT to revoke its antidumping duty to revoke its antidumping duty on honey from China. The unanimous decision came at the end of the five-year sunset review required under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.

More upbeat developments:

In January 2011, we wondered if the 16-Year Banana War was in sight because the EU had approved a 2009 agreement to end it.

What is now reckoned to be the “20-year banana war” has indeed come to an end. On November 8, the European Union and 10 Latin American countries signed an agreement to formally end eight separate World Trade Organization (WTO) cases. At issue were EU tariffs aimed at protecting small growers in former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean. Agreement on ending what was the longest running multilateral trade dispute was reached in December 2009 – the disputants have spent the nearly three years since taking legal steps to implement it.

Finally, back in May, blog anchor Bill Armbruster described the US-Panama free trade agreement as Still Waiting in the Wings. On October 31, the ITC published modifications to the harmonized tariff system, effectively implementing the latest FTA.


Date posted: November 26, 2012


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