BEIJING (AP) — A U.S. government panel said Wednesday it was canceling antidumping duties on Chinese paper in a closely watched case that prompted Beijing to file a World Trade Organization complaint.
The International Trade Commission said it concluded that American industry was not threatened by imports of Chinese coated paper. A U.S. company had complained the imports received improper government subsidies and were unfair competition.
''No antidumping or countervailing duties will be imposed on imports of this product,'' the American agency said on its Web site. It said the ruling applied to similar imports from South Korea and Indonesia.
The Bush administration is under pressure to take action over China's trade surplus with the United States. The gap reached a record high of $232.5 billion in 2006 and is expected to surpassed that this year. Some American lawmakers are calling for sanctions if Beijing fails to act faster to narrow its trade surplus and ease currency controls.
Washington's decision in May to impose duties attracted attention because it reversed 23 years of U.S. policy by treating China — which is classed as a nonmarket economy — the same way other trading partners are treated in subsidy cases. The U.S. government imposed preliminary tariffs ranging from 23.19 percent to 99.54 percent on imports of glossy Chinese paper used in art books, textbooks and magazines.
The move alarmed Beijing because it opened the way for complaints by U.S. companies that face competition from imports of Chinese furniture and other goods. Many say Chinese rivals receive improper help in the form of low-cost loans and other aid.
China demanded the repeal of the duties and filed a WTO complaint accusing the United States of acting improperly.
The case comes amid a flurry of WTO complaints by the United States against China.
Washington has filed four cases accusing Beijing of giving Chinese companies illegal subsidies, improperly blocking imports of foreign auto parts, hindering sales of American movies and failing to adequately enforce intellectual property rights.