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US to investigate imports of Chinese “custom” blends

USA: The US Department of Commerce is said to have initiated an investigation into reports that Chinese imports of R410B and other “custom” refrigerant blends are breaching antidumping laws.

The American HFC Coalition, representing leading US refrigerant suppliers and other interested parties, claims that importers have been blending Chinese-origin HFC components in third countries and in the United States in an effort to evade an antidumping duty order introduced in 2016. 

More recently, importers are said to have begun importing blends, such as R410B and various “custom” blends, that do not have any commercially approved use. 

R410B is, officially, 45% R32 and 55% R125, as opposed to its commonly-used refrigerant brother, R410A, which is a 50/50 blend of the same two components.

The American HFC Coalition claims that after importation, these unapproved HFC refrigerant blends are simply re-blended into one of the products covered by the antidumping duty order.

The coalition says it has seen a “staggering” increase in the volume of R410B imports originating in China or blended in Turkey from Chinese components. 

“In fact, imports of R410B in 2022 exceeded US imports of all other HFC blends, the group said in a statement. “Such imports can be reblended at a fraction of the cost of manufacturing HFCs. For example, R410B is easily re-blended into R410A, which can then be sold in the US market. 

US HFC manufacturers, it says, suffer depressed prices, declining sales revenues, and lost market share as a result.

It also claims that the Department of Commerce previously found that “unfinished” blends of R32 and R125 from China were circumventing the antidumping order. Other circumventions found included HFC blends using Chinese components being blended in India and imports of a patented blend being re-blended in the US after importation. 

The American HFC Coalition was formed around 2015. Its current membership is unknown but it has previously comprised refrigerant producers Honeywell, Chemours, Koura (formerly Mexichem) and Arkema, along with US refrigerant re-packer Hudson Technologies and cylinder manufacturers Amtrol and Worthington.

Related stories:

US clamp down on duty-busting refrigerant imports from India8 April 2020
USA: Customs authorities are to clamp down on imports to the USA of HFC refrigerants from India that are said to be circumventing existing antidumping duties on imports from China. Read more…

Arkema seeks anti-dumping duties on Chinese R3224 January 2020
USA: Refrigerant producer Arkema has filed a petition seeking import duties of nearly 90% to be placed on imports of R32 from China. Read more…

US to investigate Chinese HFC refrigerant imports – 25 June 2019
USA: The US Department of Commerce has initiated investigations to determine whether imports of HFC refrigerants from China are circumventing the 2016 antidumping duty order on HFC blends. Read more…

US imposes duties on Chinese HFC blends – 19 August 2016
USA: Dumping duties on certain HFC blends from China was passed today by the US government with its publication in the Federal Register. Read more…

USITC seeks duties on blends not components – 26 July 2016
USA: The USITC has voted to impose anti-dumping duties on HFC refrigerant blends from China but not on their individual components. Read more…

Anti-dumping duties “unfair” – 6 July 2016
USA: National Refrigerants has warned that the imposition of anti-dumping duties on the import of Chinese refrigerants could jeopardise the future of the company. Read more…

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