Hong Kong Trader, March 16, 2012 —
Congress earlier this month approved by an overwhelming majority legislation, which President Obama is expected to sign into law shortly, that will explicitly allow the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties on goods imported from mainland China and other non-market economy countries like Vietnam. H.R. 4105 reverses a recent court ruling against that practice and its retroactive application to 20 November 2006 will allow the United States to continue the 23 CV duty orders and six on-going CV investigations involving mainland Chinese goods. This includes. . . .
The legislation also seeks to address a March 2011 ruling by the World Trade Organisation Appellate Body that determined that the U.S. imposition of antidumping and CV duties on the same product (i.e., double remedies) is inconsistent with Article 19.3 of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. Double counting may occur in NME proceedings because the export price is not compared with the price of the good in the NME but rather with the presumptively subsidy-free constructed normal value using information from surrogate countries. . . .
Most large U.S. trade and industry associations have come out in support of H.R. 4105. . . . House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (Republican-Michigan), one of the sponsors of H.R. 4105, observed that the legislation “ensures that U.S. job creators will continue to have the tools they need to fight the distorting influence of unfair subsidies from non-market economies like China.” Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (Republican-Texas) added that the legislation provides a “WTO-consistent” mechanism to offset market-distorting subsidies provided by mainland Chinese authorities. Likewise, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (Democrat-Montana) and Ranking Republican John Thune (South Dakota) highlighted the importance of H.R. 4105 in the fight against mainland China’s unfair trade practices.
The U.S. Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R. 4105 will increase U.S. revenues, net of income and payroll tax offsets, by approximately US$160 million over the 2013-2022 period, relative to receipts under current law. This estimate projects an increase of US$16 million in U.S. revenues in each of the next ten fiscal years.
See also Protectionism does not pay
By breaking away from its decades-old practice of not legally authorizing the US Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties on goods from non-market economy countries, US lawmakers are now trying to take the easy way out.
They are trying to protect uncompetitive US industries, at the cost of all the country’s consumers and crucial trade relations, when they should be seeking ways to promote the US’ indisputable advantages in innovation and adaptation.
“China distorts the free market by giving enormous subsidies to its producers and exporters, and our companies and workers should not be expected to compete against the deep pockets of the Chinese government,” Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said during debate.
The Obama administration helped draw up the bipartisan bill after an appeals court ruled in December that the Commerce Department did not have authority to impose countervailing — or antisubsidy — duties on goods from “nonmarket economies.”