The US International Trade Commission (ITC), part of whose remit is to investigate trade practices harmful to US businesses, has ruled that aluminium foil imports from the Sultanate of Oman are sold in the United States at “less than fair value” and will thus be subject to anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
The announcement came in a determination issued by the Washington DC-based agency last week. It came at the end of a roughly yearlong investigation triggered by a joint petition filed by three American producers of aluminium foil claiming the imports “materially injured” their business.
Four other countries - Armenia, Brazil, Russia, and Turkey – were also warned they would be subject to penal duties for their aluminium foil exports into the US.
An official of the Oman’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP), which defends the country’s producers and exporters against dumping and other anti-competitive market practices, said the Ministry would review and contest the determination.
The US is an important market for aluminium file produced in the Sultanate, the biggest manufacturer being Oman Aluminium Rolling Company (OARC), a Suhar based plant that receives its aluminium hot metal feedstock from the nearby Sohar Aluminium smelter.
Oman shipped around 13,000 tonnes of aluminium foil, valued at $35.122 million, into the US market in 2020, up from 15,500 tonnes worth $48.148 million a year earlier.
In 2018, shipments totaled around 8,059 tonnes valued at $24.469 million, according to figures released by the US International Trade Commission.
“The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a US industry is materially injured by reason of imports of aluminum foil from Armenia, Brazil, Oman, Russia, and Turkey that the US Department of Commerce (Commerce) has determined are sold in the United States at less than fair value and subsidised by the governments of Oman and Turkey,” the US agency said in a press statement.
“As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determinations, (the US Department of) Commerce will issue countervailing duty orders on imports of this product from Oman and Turkey and antidumping duty orders on imports of this product from Armenia, Brazil, Oman, Russia, and Turkey,” it further noted.
According to experts, countervailing duties (CVDs) – also referred to anti-subsidy duties - are levies imposed under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules to offset the effect of subsidies enjoyed by exporters in the production of their goods. Anti-dumping duties, on the hand, are imposed on imports that are sold at discounts to hurt competition from local producers.
Either duty may be imposed after a lengthy investigative process by a department overseeing anti-competitive market practices.
Oman is a member of the GCC Standing Committee for Combating Harmful Practices in International Trade, a Riyadh based agency that investigates dumping and related anti-competitive practices in the Gulf region.