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DoC Calls for Comments in Advance of Public Hearing on China and U.S. Anti-dumping Policies

New York, May 11, 2004

At the April 21, 2004, meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, government representatives of the U.S. and China agreed to establish a working group to address the range of issues relevant to considering China's desire to no longer be treated as a non-market economy country (NME) under U.S. antidumping law. The Department of Commerce’s Import Administration has issued a request for comments in advance of a public hearing that will be held on June 3, 2004, for the purpose of identifying relevant topics and issues for discussion in the working group. Comments (including any written notification of intent to testify) must be submitted by May 19, 2004.

The public hearing will address whether to designate China as a "market economy" under U.S. anti-dumping laws. “Dumping” refers to the practice of exporting a product at a price lower than the price a company normally charges in its own home market. According to a recent article in Forbes, the current U.S. anti-dumping law has its roots in the Wilson administration's Anti-Dumping Act of 1921, which grew partly out of a fear that Germany would unload stockpiled goods from World War I on the world market. In recent decades, the law has become controversial, with various industries lobbying for anti-dumping duties if a foreign import is thought to be materially injuring or threatening a domestic industry.

According to a recent Federal Register notice, the working group will examine issues pertaining to “characteristics of the Chinese economy that appear to be inconsistent with the normal experience of a market economy, as well as Chinese government policies and practices that have the potential to distort the market and U.S.-China trade.”

Two of the six criteria for determining whether a country has a market economy are the extent to which it has a convertible currency and the degree to which wage rates are set by free bargaining between labor and management. DoC recently rejected a petition filed by labor groups asking for an investigation of Chinese labor standards that could lead to the United States imposing steep tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods.

The public hearing on June 3, 2004, will be begin at 9 a.m. in the auditorium at the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC. Parties wishing to testify orally at the hearing must provide written comments on which their testimony will be based, and must include with their comments a written notification of their intent to testify. Comments should be limited to twenty pages, submitted with a signed original and six copies.

All comments and submissions (including written notification of intent to testify) should be mailed to:

James J. Jochum, Assistant Secretary for Import Administration
Subject: Public Hearings on U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade Working Group on Structural Issues
Room 1870 U.S. Department of Commerce
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20230

For more information, contact Albert Hsu, Senior Economist, or Michael Rollin, Acting Director for Trade Remedy Compliance, Office of Policy, Import Administration, 202-482-4491 or 202-482-3415.

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