For years, special interests have called on the U.S. government to “level the playing field” in the form of duties, levies, and other antiquated measures. Democrats and Republicans alike have aired their grievances over the trade deficit, grumbling about exporters hurting American workers by flooding the market with cheap goods. These complaints are deeply misguided.
Over the last decade, China has been accused of tilting international trade in its favor. Is this true? No, it is demonstrably false, as Beijing’s subsidized exports greatly benefit American consumers far more than the Chinese population.
You can’t tell that to the U.S. government, though.
In late October, the Department of Commerce announced that China dumped aluminum foil on the U.S. market, selling the goods at “unfairly low prices.”
Trade policy under Trump hasn’t been dramatically different from his predecessors, though. Who monitor trade deals have forgotten about President Barack Obama’s 35% tax on Chinese tires and President George W. Bush’s 20% tax on imported steel.
US Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties
Before Trump’s stop in Beijing as part of his 12-day Asian tour, the U.S. government imposed duties ranging between 96.81% and 162.24% on Chinese aluminum foil. The preliminary report determined that China dumped nearly $400 million worth of aluminum foil imports on the U.S. market in 2016 at very low prices.
In August, the U.S. instituted preliminary duties of up to 80.97% on Chinese aluminum foil. The Commerce Department averred that state subsidies placed American products at a disadvantage.
China is not pleased by the move, describing it as “mistaken methods.” The Chinese Ministry of Commerce confirmed that it would “take necessary actions” to protect its domestic industries by filing a dispute under World Trade Organization (WTO) protocols.
Wang Hejun, an official with the ministry, said the U.S. is not only harming Chinese companies, but it is violating multilateral trade rules. He said in a statement: