WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Amid rising protectionist sentiments, the U.S. Commerce Department on Friday preliminarily determined that Chinese producers and exporters sold drawn stainless sinks in the U.S. at less than fair value, signaling that it may impose punitive duties on the products.
In an antidumping investigation, the department found that drawn stainless sinks from China were sold at dumping margins of 54.25 percent to 76.53 percent.
The department is scheduled to make its final determination on February 2013.
Punitive duties would be imposed after both the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) make affirmative final rulings. The USITC is expected to make a final decision over the issue in January 2013.
The petitioner for the investigation is Elkay Manufacturing Company based in Illinois.
In 2011, imports of drawn stainless sinks from China were valued at an estimated 118 million U.S. dollars.
In a separate countervailing duty (CVD) investigation, the department preliminarily determined in July that drawn stainless sinks from China received countervailing subsidies of 2.12 percent to 13.94 percent.
The U.S. move came at a time when protectionism is making a comeback in the country amid sluggish economic recovery. It was widely believed that such actions would hurt U.S.-China trade relations that are increasingly critical to global recovery.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has repeatedly urged the United States to abide by its commitment against protectionism and work together with China and other members of the international community to maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.