SCDigest Editorial Staff
As US-China trade tensions heat up, is it likely to result in erection of real trade barriers?
While mildly simmering since the beginning of the Obama term, trade tensions got a bit hotter in September when the US slapped substantial tariffs on Chinese tire imports, alleging Chinese manufacturers were dumping tires, or selling them below cost into the US. (See Furor over Decision to Hit China Hard on Tire Tariffs, as Fears of Renewed Protectionism Rise.)
That caused China to say it was going to take a look at a variety of US-made products imported into China, and some US labor and industry leaders to push for consideration of similar US actions against other categories of Chinese imports. The issue is a tricky one for US firms, as some might welcome tariff protection, while others would see the costs for their imports of certain goods skyrocket.
Last week, the tensions ratcheted up another level, as the US imposed preliminary anti-dumping duties ranging up to 99% on Chinese-imported oil well pipes – the strongest US trade action against China since it joined the World Trade Organization.
The preliminary decision came after complaints about Chinese dumping of these pipes were received from several steel producers, led by U.S. Steel Corp.
China used strong language to protest the US action.
Yao Jian, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, said that, "The oil well pipe case involves $3.2 billion in annual exports, mostly in the high end. It has a big impact on China's steel products export. The US denied China's market economy status and took discriminative measures to impose anti-dumping duties, bringing serious impacts to China's steel sector exports.”
He added: “China strongly opposes the abusive protectionism. We will take action to protect domestic enterprises.”
In the last few months, the US has initiated at least a dozen anti-dumping or countervailing duty investigations into Chinese products.
(Global Supply Chain and Logistics Article - Continued Below)