FocusUS bag dumping complaints are baseless - industry sources

13 April 2009 11:06  [Source: ICIS news]

By Chow Bee Lin

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--The anti-dumping complaints filed by two major US converters against high density polyethylene (HDPE) bag exports from Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam have no grounds and appear to be aimed at trade protectionism, industry sources said on Monday.

“They are just trying to put up trade barriers,” said a senior official of Indonesian HDPE bag manufacturer PT Dharma Kridatama, one of the companies at the receiving end of the complaint.

Two major US plastic bag producers have accused competitors in Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan of dumping products to the US and are seeking compensatory duties against those imports.

“We once received a bag order from one of the US companies which lodged the dumping complaint but we didn’t accept the order because the price offered was ridiculously low,” the source at PT Dharma Kridatama said.

He declined to reveal the company which made the offer and the exact price quoted.

Similar scepticism about the anti-dumping complaints was echoed by industry sources in Taiwan and Vietnam.

The Taiwan Plastics Industry Association (TPIA) said Taiwan’s plastic bag exports to the US were unlikely to have caused material harm to local converters.

“Taiwanese exports can make it to the US because they are priced lower. The question is whether the lower price is reasonable,” said TPIA’s secretary-general, Xie. 

“Given the higher costs of production, such as labour and land in the US, I think it’s reasonable that Taiwanese (bags) exports to the US are cheaper than local products,” he added.

“We have evidence to show we have not been dumping into the US market,” said a source at Vietnam Plastic Corporation (VINAPLAS), a state-owned plastics manufacturing company.

One of VINAPLAS’ subsidiaries had received the dumping complaints, he said.

Vietnamese bag manufacturers implicated in the case are due to meet with Vietnamese authorities soon to discuss the issue, and they are expected to engage lawyers for advice on how to respond to the complaints, he added.

The US had imported PE bags worth $85.8m from Vietnam in 2008, representing a 347% ijump from $19.2m two years ago, said a source from the country's Department of Commerce.

“We are expected to deliver a preliminary decision in May 2009 and (the) final decision in January 2010,” said the US government source, citing that talks with VINAPLAS are ongoing.

Taiwan exported around Taiwan dollar (NT) 15bn worth of plastic products last year, of which less than 10% were plastic bags sold to the US, said Xie. Its total HDPE bag export is estimated at 20,000-30,000 tonnes/year, he added.

Indonesia’s annual plastic bag export is estimated at around 80,000 tonnes, of which about 38% is HDPE bags.

With additional reporting from Terence Teo

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By: Chow Bee Lin
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