China-R134aUSA: The US Department of Commerce has initiated the anti-dumping duty investigation of R134a refrigerant imports from China.

The investigation began on March 23 following petitioning at the beginning of this month by a US industry coalition which claimed that large and increasing volumes of low-priced imports from China were causing material injury to the US fluorochemicals industry. Chinese R134a imports are said to have increased by more than 35% from 2013 to 2015, and continue to steadily increase.

Under US law, the Department of Commerce determines whether the dumping or subsidising exists and, if so, the margin of dumping or amount of the subsidy. The United International Trade Commission (USITC) determines whether the dumped or subsidised imports actual cause material injury or threat of material injury to the domestic industry.

The USITC is expected to make its preliminary injury determination by April 18. If it determines that there is a reasonable indication that imports of R134a from China are injuring the home market, the investigation will continue and Commerce will be scheduled to make its preliminary AD determination in August.

According to US Census Bureau statistics, Chinese imports of R134a increased from 10,400 tonnes in 2013 to 14,000 tonnes in 2015. The value of those imports increased by 26% over the same period.

The petitioners for this investigation are the American HFC Coalition and its individual members, as well as District Lodge 154 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The HFC Coalition is made up of a number of companies involved in the refrigerants business, including Honeywell, Chemours, Mexichem and Arkema, along with US refrigerant repacker Hudson Technologies and cylinder manufacturers Amtrol and Worthington Cylinders.

Opposing the imposition of duties are three Chinese companies: Zhejiang Quhua Fluor-Chemistry Co, Sinochem Environmental Protection Chemicals and Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co.

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