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Commerce issues antidumping duties on Asian fiber exporters

The U.S. will impose preliminary antidumping duties as a result of investigations of certain fiber imports from four Asian countries, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said on Dec. 19.

Ross said that investigations found that certain exporters of fine denier polyester staple fiber from China, India, South Korea and Taiwan have sold the products at less than fair value. Commerce's International Trade Administration said in its Dec. 19 affirmative preliminary duty determinations report that the Commerce Department will now require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect various duties from the exporters in order to level the playing field for U.S. companies.

Cash deposits will range from 52.66% to 170.92% for China, 0.66% to 15.66% for India, 0% to 45.23% for South Korea, and 0% to 48.86% for Taiwan.

"The U.S. values its relationships with these nations, but all of our trading partners must play by the rules," Ross said. "We will continue to review all information related to this preliminary determination while standing up for American businesses and workers."

Barring any postponements, the Commerce Department will announce its final antidumping determinations on March 5, 2018.

Julia Hughes, president of the U.S. Fashion Industry Association, told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the group's member companies will not see a direct impact because they are working with the finished products, and that he does not expect any near-term effects for buyers.

"It seems illogical to me to raise the price of inputs for U.S. manufacturing, but I do not expect any immediate impact for consumers," Hughes said.

According to Commerce, U.S. imports of fine denier polyester staple fiber from China was roughly $79.4 million in 2016, and $14.7 million over the same period from India. Imports of the fiber from South Korea last year were valued at roughly $10.6 million, as well as $9.6 million from Taiwan over the same period.

Combating dumping, when a foreign company sells its product in the U.S. at less than fair value, has become a priority for the Trump administration.