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US imposes steep tariffs on mattresses, beer kegs from China, Germany, Mexico

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US imposes steep tariffs on mattresses, beer kegs from China, Germany, Mexico

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump ratcheted up its ongoing trade conflict with Beijing this week, imposing steep tariffs on mattresses and beer kegs from China following claims by U.S. producers that their Chinese competitors were selling in the U.S. below fair value.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said May 29 that it would impose tariffs ranging from 38.56% to 1,731.75% on imported Chinese mattresses following petitions filed in September 2018 by Tempur Sealy International Inc., Serta Simmons Bedding LLC, Future Foam Inc. and six other U.S.-based mattress makers that claimed that the Chinese mattresses were being sold in the U.S. at below fair value.

The affirmative preliminary determination comes following an antidumping duty investigation, which is undertaken by Commerce when a foreign company sells an imported product in the U.S. at less than fair value.

Mattresses subject to the tariffs include twin, extra-long twin, full, queen, king and California king mattresses, as well as crib, toddler and youth mattresses.

Futon mattresses, airbeds, inflatable mattresses and waterbeds were excluded from the investigation.

U.S. imports of mattresses from China — valued at $436.5 million in 2017 — are already subject to 25% tariffs imposed by the U.S. as part of its ongoing tit-for-tat trade spat with Beijing; the antidumping duties will be applied on top of that tax.

The U.S. and China have intensified efforts to reach a deal to end the trade war that has resulted in tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's goods, though talks have fallen apart in recent weeks amid accusations of reneging on earlier commitments by both sides.

Similarly, Commerce also said May 29 that it would impose anti-dumping duties on stainless steel kegs from China, Germany and Mexico, following petitions by American Keg Co. LLC, a Pennsylvania-based keg producer.

Stainless steel beer kegs from China are now subject to tariffs between 2.01% and 79.71%, while those from Mexico are subject to 18.48% tariffs. Kegs from Germany are now subject to 8.61% tariffs.

Imports of kegs from China in 2017 were just $18.1 million, while keg imports from Germany and Mexico were $11.8 million and $5.7 million, respectively, over that span, according to Commerce.

The Trump administration has initiated 168 new anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations since January 2017.