Objecting to a recent ruling by the United States government that aluminium foil imported from the People’s Republic of China unfairly benefits from sizable state subsidies, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) urged caution on the issue.
Wang Hejun, director of the Trade Relief Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce, addressed the issue yesterday, countering the Commerce Department’s findings were groundless and that aluminium smelters and commercial banks are not public institutions.
Wang went on to say that Beijing is concerned that the recent and ongoing investigations of China’s aluminium industry and their trade practices in relation to the United States may significantly impact the aluminium foil trade, and that a lack of prudence in responding to the situation may result in harm to the two countries’ economic relationship.
Earlier this week the Commerce Department released a report disclosing findings that point to Chinese aluminium foil producers as recipients of subsidies ranging from 16.5 percent to 81 percent. The investigation is the result of a petition by the Aluminum Association earlier this year alleging dumping of aluminium foil on the American market by over 230 Chinese firms. The department has instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials to collect deposits at those rates in an attempt at leveling the playing field.
Among the Chinese government’s objections to the investigation and its findings is their claim that the United States ignored its active cooperation in it. The Commerce Department report identified two firms by name in its report as having participated in the proceedings.
China’s foil producers have already promised to launch legal action contesting the ruling.
For its part, the Commerce Department pointed out that the investigation in question is separate from the Section 232 investigation launched by the Trump administration this spring. Results of that investigation are expected towards the end of October.