WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump's Commerce Department on Tuesday (June 12) announced another trade action involving Chinese imports, with producers of steel propane tanks accused of dumping and unfair subsidies.
It is the latest in a series of disputes the Trump administration has taken up against Beijing, the largest of which are the looming 25 per cent tariffs on US$50 billion (S$67 billion) in Chinese goods amid complaints the country is stealing US technology.
The frictions with the Asian giant, as well as the latest conflict with allies like Canada and the European Union have threatened to spill over into a global trade war.
The latest complaint, lodged by US manufacturers in Ohio and Tennessee, argues that China is dumping and unfairly subsidising the steel cylinders, which allegedly land on the US market at below cost, creating unfair competition for US companies, including two that filed a complaint with the Commerce Department.
The complaint says China subsidises production by 55 to 109 per cent through a variety of programmes including taxes, grants and export credits for nearly US$90 million in exports.
If the Commerce Department determines that China is providing the industry with unfair subsidies and is dumping the products, it will impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties to make the prices similar to US competitors.
The case also alleges dumping of the steel tanks by Taiwan and Thailand at lower rates.
Last year, the United States imported a little over US$100 million in the propane cylinders from the three countries combined, according to the Commerce Department.