BEIJING, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- China says the United States may soon impose punitive duties on its drawn stainless steel sink exports.
The issue concerns duty investigations by the U.S. Commerce Department and its announcement of "affirmative final determination" on the Chinese product.
A preliminary determination in September alleged dumping by China of drawn stainless steel sinks, which are single or multiple drawn bowls and a smooth basin with seamless, smooth and rounded corners.
Dumping is said to have occurred when a foreign company is found to sell a product in the United States at less than fair value, aided by such measures as government subsidies.
The Commerce Department said Chinese producers and exporters sold the sinks at dumping margins of up to 76.53 percent. Exports of the products to the United States were valued at about $118 million in 2011.
Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, said the "affirmative final determination" increases the possibility of imposition of punitive duties on the products. Chinese producers and exporters reportedly received subsidies.
The U.S. International Trade Commission is expected to make a final determination on the issue by April 5. If it finds the products caused material injury or threat to the U.S. industry, the Commerce Department will issue antidumping duty and countervailing duty orders.
China has said protectionism is making a comeback in the United States as the U.S. economy makes a sluggish recovery and that such actions would hurt U.S.-China trade relations critical to global economic recovery.
In December, the Chinese Commerce Ministry announced the United States replaced the European Union last year as the No. 1 market for Chinese exports, buying $319.4 billion of goods through November.
The Chinese ministry said U.S. purchases during the period represented an 8.2 percent increase from the same period of 2011. During the same period, China imported $119.2 billion of U.S. goods, up 8.1 percent year-on-year. The total two-way volume of trade between China and the United States of $438.62 billion gave China a trade surplus of more than $200 billion in the 11 months of 2012, up sharply from its surplus of $148.3 billion a year ago.
Chinese exports to the European Union declined 4.1 percent in the same 11-month period to $302.3 billion.
China's total foreign trade in the first 11 months of 2012 rose 5.8 percent year-on-year to $3.5 trillion. U.S.-China trade has expected to increase as the U.S. economy recovers.