Friday, August 27, 2010

U.S. Lays Out Plan to Strengthen Anti-Dumping Regime

(Reuters – Doug Palmer)

The United States on Thursday announced plans to toughen rules against what it sees as unfair foreign trade practices, proposing a number of changes likely to irk China, its biggest import supplier. At least some of the proposals could lead to higher anti-dumping or countervailing duties on goods from the Asian manufacturing giant, the most frequent target of U.S. complaints about unfair trade in recent years.

But the plan seeks to strengthen the effectiveness of U.S. trade protection measures “across a range of areas,” a senior Commerce Department official told Reuters.

With President Barack Obama’s popularity falling and Democrats in danger of losing control of Congress in November elections, the party has been pushing a “Make it in America” agenda aimed at creating U.S. manufacturing jobs.

“Today’s announcement is another demonstration of our continuing efforts to sharpen our trade enforcement tools,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement. It outlined 14 proposals that increase penalties or toughen requirements on foreign companies that sell goods the United States deems unfairly priced or subsidized.

Although less than 3% of imports into the United States are hit with anti-dumping or countervailing duties, the trade laws can be an important source of protection for sectors such as steel, tires, paper and other industrial goods. Read more