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U.S. industry group seeks end to “zeroing” for antidumping cases

U.S. industry group seeks end to “zeroing” for antidumping cases

U.S. industry group seeks end to “zeroing” for antidumping cases

   An industry group with a focus on imported goods and consumers has asked U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans in a letter this week to end the practice of “zeroing” when calculating antidumping margins.

   The Washington-based Consumers for World Trade claims zeroing artificially inflates antidumping by ignoring U.S. prices on any sales at prices higher than those made outside the United States. The result, the group says, is either new or higher taxes on many U.S. imports.

   “This practice is dishonest and harmful to consumers,” said Robin Lanier, president of the Consumers for World Trade, in a statement Thursday. “It inflates antidumping tariffs which are then passed along to the consumer in the form of higher prices.”

   The group pointed out in its letter that zeroing has been twice ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization and the European Union has already abandoned the practice.

   In a recent U.S. antidumping case involving softwood lumber from Canada, the WTO ruled against the United States’ use of zeroing. However, in a Dec. 20 letter to the Consumers for World Trade, Evans stated that since this ruling applied only to that one case, the Commerce Department would not stop using zeroing.

   “Zeroing works the same way in every case, so every time the U.S. applies zeroing it is violating the WTO rules,” Lanier explained. “The EU and Japan are already challenging the United States’ use of zeroing in 37 prior cases. Thailand has already filed a challenge against the United States for its use of zeroing in the calculation of anti-dumping duties on exports of shrimp.”

   She added: “We are hoping that (Evans) will look closely at just how much damage his position is doing to U.S. credibility on trade and use his authority to make this vital change.”