China probes Taiwan petrochemical firms for alleged dumping

Taipei--China has launched an investigation into allegations that styrene monomer (SM) exporters from Taiwan sold their products in the mainland market at unfairly low prices, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The MOEA cited a notice issued by China on Friday as saying that the investigation was initiated by its Ministry of Commerce, and in addition to Taiwan, SM exporters from the United States and South Korea also have been named in the case.

SM is used in the production of a wide range of petrochemical products, such as unsaturated polyester resin, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, thermos plastic elastomer, polystyrene and styrene butadiene latex, the MOEA said.

Currently, Taiwan Styrene Monomer Corp. (??), Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corp. (??) and Formosa Chemicals & Fiber Corp. (??) are among the major SM producers in Taiwan, according to the MOEA.

It said the investigation is expected to end on June 23, 2018 and will look into whether sales of styrene from Taiwan, South Korea and the U.S. had caused material damage on the China market from 2013 to 2016. The probe could be extended into Dec. 23, 2018 if necessary, the MOEA said.

It added that the ministry has informed affected Taiwanese styrene firms of the probe and urged them to respond to the questions raised by Chinese authorities as soon as possible to protect their interests.

The ministry said that it will provide necessary financial assistance to the affected Taiwanese firms to seek legal redress so that they can apply for subsidies to hire lawyers and accountants to take on the investigation.

Quoting China's trade statistics, the MOEA said that Taiwan was the third largest SM supplier to China after South Korea and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. came fourth.

China imported 486,524 tons, 475,099 tons, 434,204 tons, 458,954 tons of SM from Taiwan in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The amounts made up 11.6 to 13.2 percent of the total import volume by China, the data showed.

Taiwan's SM export value to China stood at US$827 million, US$750 million, US$467 million and US$470 million, respectively, in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, accounting for 11.2 to 13 percent of the value of China's total imports of the product, the data indicated.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel