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US Lawyer Urges Active Response

A law firm from the United States has urged Chinese companies to actively respond to anti-dumping charges.

"Active response is the key to success in anti-dumping cases," said Patrick Norton, a partner of the US law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

The firm has recently helped two Chinese steel companies, Ma'anshan Iron and Steel Co and Weifang Ironpipe Co, win cases in the United States.

The two firms are among the first Chinese companies that have gone through US anti-dumping investigations and ended with zero dumping margin jurisdiction.

It was especially a success for Ma'anshan, which was charged 153 per cent dumping tax in the US Department of Commerce's primary judgment a few months ago.

The success of the two companies shows that Chinese companies are very likely to win in foreign anti-dumping cases if they are willing to fight, said Norton.

"This is not a question of either no taxes or very high taxes. You have middle range and it's always worthwhile to fight for the lowest possible tax rates in order to export at tolerable duties," he said.

The cases of the two companies are very important not because they involve a lot of money but that they have gone through all parts of the US investigation and could serve as models for later Chinese companies, the lawyer said.

"Data speak in the US investigation and the most important thing is that companies' export prices point to no dumping after the US' precise computation," he said.

The US Government will find out all production materials such as iron mineral, coal and labor and multiply the quantities of these materials with their respective prices in similar countries such as India to get the "true" total costs.

US officials are also interested in Chinese companies' accounting records and sometimes do personal visits to manufacturers so as to ensure the authenticity of these data.

Norton said companies must pay great attention to such visits, when US officials might ask about the ownership of the firm and who makes the decisions.

Law firms function as a bridge between Chinese companies and US investigators so that Chinese companies know what US investigators need.

He said the charge for an anti-dumping case is usually US$200,000 but varies according to the complexity of the case.

(China Daily June 7, 2002)

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