The Department of Commerce has imposed anti-dumping duties ranging from nearly 29 percent to about 96 percent on imports of plastic shopping bags from Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan.
The preliminary determination announced Oct. 28 means importers of plastic grocery and shopping bags from those countries will have to post bonds or pay cash deposits to cover the duties.
The ruling was a response to a petition filed seven months ago by law firm King & Spalding LLP on behalf of U.S. plastic bag manufacturers Hilex Poly Co. LLC of Hartsville, S.C., and Superbag Corp. of Houston.
In a statement, Washington-based King & Spalding partner Joe Dorn said the antidumping duties should restore fair competition to the marketplace.
This will give these U.S. companies the opportunity to maintain U.S. plants and U.S. jobs instead of continuing to lose market share to unfairly priced imports, he said.
Altogether, the Commerce Department imposed 22 company-specific antidumping duties on plastic bags from 18 Vietnamese companies, two Indonesian firms and two Taiwanese manufacturers.
The preliminary antidumping margins calculated by the Commerce Department range from 67.18 to 67.62 percent for bags imported from Indonesia. Duties are 52.30 to 76.11 percent for bags imported from Vietnam and 28.69 to 95.81 percent for bags from Taiwan.
The highest company-specific tariff is 95.81 percent, for bags imported from Ipsido Corp. of Taiwan. The next highest is 76.11 percent, for bags imported from Vietnamese firms Advance Polybag Co. Ltd. and Fotai Vietnam Enterprise Corp.
The company-specific tariff on Indonesian bags is 67.62 percent for bags from PT Sido Bangun, and 67.18 percent for bags made by PT Super Exim Sari Ltd.
In addition, antidumping duties of 76.11 percent will be imposed on bags imported from Vietnamese companies not specifically named.
The antidumping duty imposed on bags imported from non-specific Indonesian companies is 69.4 percent and 28.69 percent on similar Taiwanese companies.
The U.S. International Trade Commission in May made a preliminary finding that U.S. plastic bag makers suffered injury because bags from Indonesia, Taiwan, and Vietnam were being sold below fair market value in the U.S.
The final antidumping duty orders are slated to go into effect in spring 2010, after the Commerce Department and the ITC make their preliminary findings final.
According to U.S. officials, the number of plastic bags exported from Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan more than doubled from 6.8 billion in 2006 to 14.6 billion in 2008, increasing the market share of those three countries from a total of 7 percent to 15 percent.
In that time, Dorn said, the value of bags exported from those countries nearly tripled from $63.5 million in 2006 to $182 million in 2008.
According to Commerce Department statistics, Vietnam is the second-largest exporter of plastic retail bags to the U.S., at nearly $86 million in 2008, up from just over $19 million in 2006.
A number of Chinese bag manufacturers moved their operations to Vietnam in 2004 after the U.S. imposed antidumping duties on bags imported from China, Thailand and Malaysia.
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