The U.S. Commerce Department has proposed anti-dumping duties on plastic shopping and grocery bags exported to the U.S. by certain companies in Thailand and China.
A preliminary ruling published this month in the Federal Register proposes the highest possible anti-dumping duty of 122.88 percent on plastic bags from Master Packaging Co. Ltd. of Bangkok, and a 22.02 percent duty on bags from Thai Plastic Bags Group.
TPBG, which consists of Thai Plastic Bags Industries Co. Ltd., Apec Film Ltd. and Winner's Pack Co. Ltd., is based in Sampran, Thailand, about 30 miles outside of Bangkok.
Both rates are also the anti-dumping cash-deposit rates those companies would have to pay going forward if the preliminary determinations are made final. A decision is expected later this year or early next year.
The Commerce Department said it assigned the highest possible anti-dumping duty on Master Packaging because the company did not respond to the agency's request for information: Because Master Packaging has failed to provide the information we requested and thus has significantly impeded this proceeding, we conclude that the use of adverse interference is warranted.
The preliminary determinations against Thailand plastic bag manufacturers completes the agency's annual administrative review of a 2004 anti-dumping order on imports of plastic grocery and shopping bags from Malaysia, Thailand, and China.
The Malaysian ruling was published in the Federal Register July 9, the Chinese ruling on July 29.
In its ruling on Thailand bag exports, officials said the anti-dumping cash-deposit rate will remain at the most recent company-established rate for five Thailand bag exporters previously reviewed C.P. Packaging Co. Ltd., C.P. Poly-Industry Co. Ltd., Naraipak Co. Ltd., Nari Packaging (Thailand) Ltd. and Poly Plast (Thailand) Ltd. The cash-deposit rate for bags from all other Thailand companies would be 2.8 percent.
The Commerce Department rulings additionally maintain anti-dumping cash-deposit rates for Malaysian and Chinese companies, without individually established company rates, at 84.94 percent and 77.57, respectively.
Plastic bags from the Chinese firm of Rally Plastics Co. Ltd. that were exported to the U.S. between Aug. 1, 2007 and July 31, 2008 would be levied anti-dumping duties of 17.95 percent, and be subject to an anti-dumping cash-deposit rate of 17.95 percent, if the preliminary results are made final.
Likewise, as previously reported, plastic bags from Malaysia's Euro Plastics Sdn Bhd would be subject to anti-dumping duties of 43 percent for exports made to the U.S. during that same period and would be subject to a 43 percent anti-dumping cash-deposit rate going forward.
Rally Plastics, Euro Plastics, TPBG and Master Packaging would also have to pay interest on the anti-dumping duties for the period that was reviewed by the Commerce Department.
Rally Plastics is based in Zhongshan, China, and exports its bags to the U.S. primarily through Keenpac North America Ltd. in Goshen, N.Y.
Euro Plastics, based in Shah Alam, is part of Euro Packaging plc of Birmingham, England. Euro Plastics exports bags from Malaysia to the U.S. primarily through Euro Packaging LLC, its affiliated reseller in Salem, N.H.
The original petition resulted in anti-dumping duties ranging from 20-122 percent on bag exporters in China, Malaysia and Thailand.
Acting on a similar petition filed in March, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled May 14 there is reason to believe plastic grocery and shopping bags from Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam are being sold in the U.S. at prices anywhere from 28-96 percent below their fair value.
The Commerce Department estimated the dumping margins at 76-96 percent for bags imported from Taiwan, 35-60 percent for bags from Indonesia, and 28-76 percent for bags from Vietnam.
The department also is investigating two policy lending programs, three grant programs, three income-tax programs, and three import and value-added-tax exemption plans from the Vietnamese government to determine whether to impose countervailing duties against Vietnam.
A preliminary ruling on the anti-dumping and countervailing duties is due Sept. 7, with a final ruling between December and April.
The number of plastic shopping bags exported from Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam has more than doubled, from 6.8 billion in 2006 to 14.6 billion in 2008. Their combined market share has jumped to 15 percent from 7 percent, said Joseph Dorn, a partner in the Washington law office of King & Spalding LLP, which represents a coalition of U.S. producers that brought the anti-dumping petitions.
In that same time frame, he said, the value of bags exported from those three countries has nearly tripled from $63.5 million in 2006 to $182 million in 2008.
A dumping petition charges a company with selling its product in the U.S. at a lower price than it sells that same product in its own country, or at a price lower than its cost of making the product. A countervailing duty petition alleges that a foreign government is providing financial assistance to benefit the production, manufacturer or exportation of a product.
Since the U.S. International Trade Commission and Commerce Department rulings in 2004, a number of China-based retail-bag manufacturers have moved packaging operations for those products to Vietnam. Commerce statistics now put Vietnam as the second-largest exporter of plastic retail bags to the U.S., and calculated the value of those exports at nearly $86 million in 2008, compared with roughly $19 million in 2006. Import taxes on bags from Vietnam are currently less than 5 percent.
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