The U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to place anti-dumping duties on PET imports from five countries on April 30, according to a consultant's report.
The preliminary anti-dumping duties will be on PET imports from South Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, Taiwan and Brazil, according to an April 16 report from Xavier Cronin, a market analyst with the PetroChem Wire consulting firm in Houston.
Cronin cited a Commerce Department source in the report. Imports from those countries accounted for about 42 percent of all U.S. PET imports in 2017.
U.S. PET makers DAK Americas LLC, Indorama Ventures USA Inc., M&G Polymers USA LLC and Nan Ya Plastics Corp. America requested the duties in September, alleging that imports of PET resin from those five countries are being sold at less than fair value in the U.S. and are causing material injury to the domestic industry.
The filing was in response to surging volumes of "aggressively priced" PET resin imports from those locations, the companies said in a news release at the time. Import volume from those countries grew more than four times from 2014 to 2016, climbing from 148 million pounds to almost 600 million pounds.
PET resin from those countries "continued to rapidly enter the U.S. market in the first half of 2017," officials said in the release. Imported material "undersold the domestic industry, taking sales from and exerting considerable downward pricing pressure on U.S. producers."
As a result of increasing volumes of low-priced imports, the condition of the domestic industry suffered, officials added. U.S. producers "have experienced declining production and shipment volumes and deteriorating financial performance as a result of the lost sales and price depression caused by the subject imports."
An attorney representing the PET firms said in the release that "the substantial increase in unfairly-traded PET resin from these five subject countries has hit the domestic industry hard and threatens the livelihoods of American workers."
The September duties request wasn't the first time U.S. PET maker have taken such action. In March 2016, the trade commission voted to place anti-dumping duties on PET resin from Canada, China, India and Oman. That request had been made by DAK, M&G and Nan Ya.
U.S. trade investigators agreed with the September filing, ruling late last year that these imports had been sold in the U.S. at less-than fair market value. Any duties will be levied as cash deposits that must be posted with U.S. Customs and Border Protection before imports are cleared for entry, according to Cronin.
He added that, according to the most recent trade data, there have been no PET imports from Taiwan, Brazil and Indonesia into the United States in the first two months of 2018. PET imports from South Korea in that period totaled less than 7 million pounds, down 27 percent from the year-ago period. PET imports from Pakistan, however, totaled more than 20 million pounds, an amount roughly four times higher than what was reported in those months in 2017.
Total U.S. PET imports for the two months, according to Cronin, were more than 250 million pounds, up almost 10 percent vs. 2017. Mexico was the top source of U.S. PET imports at almost 75 million pounds, but that amount was down almost 37 percent vs. the prior period.