China Appeals to WTO for Help in Negotiating Aluminium Foil Row with United States

China Appeals to WTO for Help in Negotiating Aluminium Foil Row with United States
Main entrance to the Centre William Rappard which houses the headquarters of the World Trade Organization. Source: Wikimedia

In a response to the anti-dumping duties imposed by the United States government on imports of aluminium foil from the People’s Republic of China, China’s Ministry of Commerce approached the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Friday in an effort at enlisting the trade organization’s aid.

According to announcements from the Ministry of Commerce, representatives submitted a request for supplementary consultations, which is an available remedy under the WTO’s dispute-resolution mechanisms.

The move is the first formal response to the U.S. Commerce Department’s preliminary determination that aluminium foil exports from the People’s Republic of China were sold in the U.S. at prices justifying preliminary dumping margins of between 97 percent and 162 percent.

Chinese Commerce Ministry officials subsequently characterized the method of using surrogate country pricing as “discriminatory” in nature, calling upon the United States government to correct its “mistaken methods,” as they harm Chinese exporters and undermine the authority of international trade rules.

In a statement released in conjunction with the WTO filing, the ministry reiterated its position that the U.S. government’s method for making decisions on dumping are in error.

“Regrettably, the United States has ignored the expiration of Article 15 … and still persists in its erroneous practice of continuing to use the ‘third country’ method in its anti-dumping investigations on imported products of China in violation of its obligation to WTO rules.”

The request may have implications beyond the Commerce Department, as American president Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the Middle Kingdom this Wednesday through Friday. Carrying over from promises made as a candidate, his administration has attacked what it perceives as unfair trading practices in the steel and aluminium sectors hammer and tong, highlighted by the Section 232 investigation it launched this spring.