Seoul pleads Beijing to be fair in probe on dumping

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Seoul pleads Beijing to be fair in probe on dumping

Korea on Tuesday called on China to carry out its antidumping investigations into Korean chemical products in a fair manner.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it made the request at a bilateral free trade meeting attended by senior trade officials from both countries. A bilateral free trade agreement took effect in December 2015.

In June, China launched an antidumping probe into Korean exports of styrene monomer, a component of polystyrene, which is used to make plastic and foam containers.

Last month, Beijing began an antidumping investigation into Korean exports of nitrile butadiene rubber, a raw material for fuel hoses, gaskets, rollers and other products in which oil resistance is required.

In November, China imposed antidumping duties of 29.9 percent on Kumho P&B Chemicals’ exports of ethyl isobutyl ketone, a compound widely used in coatings, pesticides and solvents.

“The Korean government delivered local companies’ concerns over China’s moves,” the ministry said in a statement, “and asked Beijing to make an objective decision through fair investigations.”

Beijing has begun its investigations into the chemicals at the request of Chinese petrochemical companies, which claim cheap imports from Korea and other countries are hurting the domestic industry.

Petrochemical exporters have been facing growing protectionism in China, which has launched antidumping probes on imports of major materials.

Currently, China is carrying out 15 trade remedies including antidumping investigations and safeguards on Korean products. It is the third-largest regulator of Korean imports after the United States and India.

At the meeting on Tuesday, both sides agreed to establish a civilian consultative body on trade remedies and trade policy tools that allow governments to take remedial action against imports hurting domestic industries.

The agreement is a follow-up to a memorandum of understanding signed by the countries’ trade ministers on the margins of a bilateral summit in Beijing last week.

At the summit, leaders agreed to launch follow-up negotiations to include the service and investment sectors, and expand the scope of the trade deal, which is largely focused on reducing tariffs on goods. YONHAP

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