The United States' Antidumping Decisions against the ASEAN Countries

By Mah, Jai S. | Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, April 1999 | Go to article overview

The United States' Antidumping Decisions against the ASEAN Countries


Mah, Jai S., Journal of Southeast Asian Economies


As Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) exports to the United States increased over time, some of those countries became subject to antidumping duties by the United States from 1985. The cumulation proviso introduced in the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984 made the relatively smaller exporters like the ASEAN countries exposed to the antidumping measures of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). By industry, iron and steel shared about half of the decisions against ASEAN. The percentage of the U.S. ITC Commissioners' affirmative antidumping decisions against the ASEAN member countries was a little higher than that against the other countries. The Democrat Commissioners tended to take more affirmative antidumping decisions against ASEAN than the Republican Commissioners.

I. Introduction

The reductions in tariffs over the past half century have led the contracting parties and Members of the GATT/WTO to resort to practices other than tariff imposition which constrain trade. The restriction that came to be most often applied is antidumping, which is allowed under certain conditions by the GATT/WTO. In 1995, for instance, antidumping actions reported by the Members to the WTO Committee on Antidumping Practices reached some 352. In the same year, the United States completed 57 preliminary and final antidumping injury investigations on products imported from 16 different countries (U.S. International Trade Commission [ITC], 1996).

Although the United States has been one of the largest users of administered protection like antidumping, the ASEAN members were not subject to the U.S. antidumping neasures until the first half of the 1980s. The United States began to take antidumping measures against some of the ASEAN members from 1985. Being highly dependent on international trade, they have been concerned with such measures. Even when the ASEAN members successfully defended themselves against the antidumping petitions, time and resources were wasted. This article intends to show the characteristics of the U.S. antidumping measures against ASEAN, which have rarely been studied in the literature. For this purpose, the WTO regulations on antidumping as well as the U.S. antidumping laws and policies are explained. With this background, the reasons for the upsurge in the U.S. antidumping actions against the ASEAN members are revealed. Furthermore, the U.S. ITC Commissioners' antidumping decisions are investigated to check whether they show partisan or sectoral characteristics.

The structure of the article is organized as follows. In the next section, the WTO regulations on antidumping are briefly described. In section III, the U.S. antidumping law and the procedure of its implementation are explained. In section IV, the characteristics of the U.S. antidumping decisions against the ASEAN members are revealed. The U.S. ITC Commissioners' behaviour is also analysed depending on their affiliation with the parties. The final section summarizes the overall results.

II. The WTO Regulations on Antidumping

Although most international economists do not refute the superiority of free trade over protection in improving national welfare, policy makers in most countries actively practised some form of trade protection. Multilateral trade negotiations have brought down average tariffs to alleviate the trade barriers. The Tokyo Round in the 1970s began to alleviate the non-tariff barriers practised by the then GATT contracting parties. Important advances were made in the Uruguay Round negotiations to guarantee the freer and more transparent trade policies of the WTO Members: mandatory, not voluntary, nature of various Agreements on the non-tariff barriers; strengthening the dispute settlement mechanism; and comprising new areas such as trade in agricultural goods, trade-related intellectual properties, and trade in services.' However, despite the successive, multilateral trade negotiations, the uses of contingent protection such as antidumping certainly have been on the increase.

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