Trade relations between the US and China were set to take
another turn for the worse as the US Commerce Department finalized
its ruling that Chinese manufacturers were selling television sets
in the US at below cost, paving the way for import duties to be
slapped on Chinese TV manufacturers.
The ruling directly affects four Chinese TV makers - Sichuan
Changhong Electric, Konka Group, TCL Group and Xiamen Overseas
Chinese Electronic - that were at the heart of the Commerce
Department's investigation into alleged dumping by China more than
a year ago.
The duties will not be finalized until the International Trade
Commission rules on whether the US television industry and its
workers have been injured by the imports. China plans to study the
details of Wednesday's ruling and may consider appealing the
decision with the US Court of International Trade, according to the
China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and
Electronic Products, an industry trade group.
The Commerce Department slapped import duties of 24.48 percent
on Sichuan Changhong, China's largest TV maker; 22.36 percent on
TCL; 11.36 percent on Konka; and 4.35 percent on Xiamen Overseas,
said the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of
Machinery and Electronic Products.
The group also said nine other domestic TV makers including
Haier Group, Hisense Electric, Philips Consumer Electronics,
Skyworth Digital Holdings, SVA Group, Starlight International
Holdings, and three subsidiaries of Xinghui that had responded to
the Commerce Department's probe faced duties of 21.49 percent.
The penalties were less than the duties the Commerce Department
originally threatened to impose when it made its preliminary ruling
in November last year. At that time, the US threatened to slap
import duties of 27.94 percent for Konka, 31.35 percent for TCL,
31.7 percent for Xiamen Overseas, and 45.87 percent for
Nonetheless, the ruling is certain to inflame tensions during a
year of fraught Sino-US trade relations in which the US has blamed
China's rising trade surplus for the loss of American jobs and
slapped new quotas on several categories of Chinese clothing
Last month the US lodged its first World Trade Organization
complaint against China, charging that Beijing was violating global
trade rules by giving big tax breaks to domestic chip
China says it is "baffled" by Washington's WTO complaint but is
thought to be keen to resolve the issue bilaterally. That would
prevent the dispute from going to a full panel session of the WTO
and providing a pre-election victory for President George W.
China last year produced nearly 19m television sets worth more
than $2bn, making it the world's largest manufacturer. Television
imports into the US from China have grown sharply since the country
joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2004)