WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has joined the discussion regarding the importation of HFC-134a from China. On April 14, the federal agency released what it called a preliminary Countervailing Duty Determination (CVD).

The CVD imposes net subsidy rates ranging up to 28.74 percent on R-134a coming from specific companies in China. The charges would take effect upon publication in the Federal Register.

The idea, according to a number of persons within the U.S. refrigerant industry, is to level the playing field for imported refrigerants that some feel are being unfairly subsidized by the Chinese government.

The document from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said a final determination would not come before May 21, so that it would more closely coincide with an anti-dumping investigation from the International Trade Commission (ITC), working in conjunction with the DOE. On Dec. 13, 2013, the ITC voted 6-0 to move forward against China regarding possible illegal HFC-134a coming into the U.S. That decision is in regard to a petition filed with the DCO, in which Louisiana-based Mexichem Fluor asked the government to impose sanctions on the imports.

The ITC is trying to determine whether the U.S. industry is being materially injured or threatened with material injury.

“The massive Chinese overcapacity, government subsidies, and underselling, combined with the U.S. industry’s need to operate at high utilization levels, make the domestic industry quite vulnerable to a real and imminent threat of injury,” said Mexichem, in its petition.

The most recent DOE report said both the anti-dumping and final CVD determinations are now scheduled for Aug. 4, 2014, although the determinations could be postponed to a later date.

Publication date: 5/5/2014

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