The commission (ITC) said it is carrying out a full review to determine whether revocation of the antidumping duty order on saccharin from China would be “likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time”.
Saccharin is a popular sweetener used in beverages and foods such as cakes, confectionery, dressings, processed fruit and biscuits.
The antidumping order was introduced in the US in 2003 after the Ohio-based company PMC Specialties Group, which claims to be the sole domestic producer of saccharin in the US, filed a trade petition. This claimed that saccharin producers from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) "dumped" their products in the US at prices lower than the normal value in China.
Antidumping duties can protect domestic companies from predatory pricing by companies overseas. However, it can also reduce competition in the domestic market.
Orders are revoked after five years unless it “would be likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and material injury to the domestic industry”.
In light of this, the Import Administration, which is the US International Trade Administration’s lead unit on enforcing trade laws and agreements to prevent unfairly traded imports, has already published its own analysis which concluded that dumping would be likely to continue or recur if the order were revoked.
It said in the sunset review document regarding saccharine, which was published in October: “Not only have imports from the PRC increased since the order, but companies have also continued to dump with the discipline of an order in place.
“The Department finds that the existence of dumping margins even with an order in place is highly probative of the likelihood of continuation or recurrence of dumping, if the order were to be revoked.”
The ITC decided that responses to its notice of institution of the subject five-year review were such that a full review should proceed and it is due to hold a hearing in connection with the review on March 26, 2009.
Government restrictions on Chinese output and the imposition of anti-dumping duties in the US have prevented growth in the saccharin market, which faces strong competition from alternative sweeteners, according to the UK-based consultancy Leatherhead Food International.
It said that Chinese products have flooded the international market in recent years adding pricing pressure to an already low-cost product and value sales of saccharin are under $100m.
In the US more expensive products such as aspartame sucralose and acesulfame-K have become more popular and saccharin usage remains relatively low.