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Worthington accuses China of refrigerant cylinder dumping

USA: Refrigerant cylinder manufacturer Worthington Industries has filed petitions alleging that Chinese manufacturers are dumping non-refillable steel cylinders on the US market.

The company, based in Columbus, Ohio, claims that the Chinese manufacturers are being unfairly subsidised by their government, enabling them to sell the cylinders at less than fair value in the USA. 

Worthington has alleged dumping margins as high as 61%, in addition to margins found due to subsidisation.  

The non-refillable steel cylinders covered by the petitions are portable, seamed (welded) pressure vessels meeting the requirements of USDOT specification 39, TransportCanada Specification 39M, or United Nations pressure receptacle standard ISO 11118 for non-reusable (non-refillable) cylinders for hazardous material packaging and range in sizes of 300in3 (4.9 litres) to 1,526in3 (25 litres) in water capacity. They are used in a wide variety of applications, including refrigerants.

The petitions were filed concurrently with the United States Department of Commerce and the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) claiming “surging volumes” of “aggressively-priced” non-refillable steel cylinders imports from China over the past several years.  

Worthington is said to be the only US company producing non-refillable steel cylinders and claims to have suffered under the pressure of low-priced Chinese imports in the form of lost production, shipments, market share, and revenue. Without trade relief, its says its business will continue to deteriorate, threatening the ongoing manufacture of this product in the United States.

“Chinese producers of non-refillable steel cylinders have targeted the US market as an attractive destination for their massive production capacity and overcapacity,” said Worthington’s counsel Paul Rosenthal of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.

“They have easily been able to capture sales and market share from Worthington for this standardised product simply using low prices. This has had a significant adverse impact on Worthington’s non-refillable steel cylinders business. The current conditions are not sustainable. Worthington had to act to ensure it can continue serving its customers with non-refillable steel cylinders produced in the United States.” 

The Commerce Department will now have to determine whether to initiate the antidumping duty and countervailing duty investigations within 20 days of today’s filing of the petitions and the USITC will reach a preliminary determination of material injury or threat of material injury within 45 days of today’s filing. 

The investigative process is likely to take a year, with final determinations of dumping and injury likely occurring by the spring of 2021.  Any antidumping duties that are ultimately imposed are intended to offset the amount by which the product is sold at less than fair value, or “dumped,” in the United States.  

Worthington manufactures non-refillable steel cylinders at its facilities in Columbus, Ohio and Paducah, Kentucky.

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