Rare prison terms imposed on two US plastic bag importers

19 October 2010 16:01  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--Two Chicago, Illinois-area importers of plastic retail bags have been sentenced to prison for failing to pay duties on bags imported from China in what the attorney representing US producers said on Tuesday was an unusual case of jail time for antidumping cases.

Young Seung Shin and Peili Ding of S&P Plastics, Inc, were sentenced to six and 12 months in prison, respectively, for their role in defrauding US Customs and failing to pay antidumping duties on polyethylene retail carrier bags (PRCBs) they imported from China.

Plastic shopping bags from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam are subject to import duties imposed by the US to offset the efforts by some manufacturers in those countries to grab US market share by selling retail bags at less than production cost - a practice known as dumping.

In addition to their prison terms, the two importers agreed in a plea bargain to pay fines and forfeitures of more than $180,000 (€127,800). US officials also seized all of their bag shipments that had not yet cleared customs.

Joe Dorn, an attorney with the Washington, DC, law firm King & Spalding who represented US plastic bag manufacturers, noted that jail sentences in antidumping cases are unusual “but they are clearly provided for in the statutes”.

“In this case, the culprits discarded evidence and otherwise obstructed the investigation,” he said.

Dorn represented the PRCB Committee, a group of US plastic bag producers.

The convictions, Dorn said, “demonstrate that illegal circumvention of antidumping orders on plastic bags will not be tolerated”.

($1 = €0.71)

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