US slaps anti-dumping duties on Chinese hardwood plywood

Hardwood plywood imports from China to the US totaled $1.12 billion in 2016

The United States said on Monday it would impose anti-dumping duties on imports of hardwood plywood products from China, a move decried by Beijing as based on "totally distorted" data.

It was the latest move by the Commerce Department against Chinese goods it deems to have benefited from state subsidies, including fresh duties against aluminum foil unveiled last month.

The United States imported $1.12 billion of hardwood plywood products from China last year.

President Donald Trump is returning from an 11-day tour of Asia, where he has said US interests have been ill-served by global trade, while his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping defended the "irreversible" tide of globalization.

"After my tour of Asia, all Countries dealing with us on TRADE know that the rules have changed. The United States has to be treated fairly and in a reciprocal fashion. The massive TRADE deficits must go down quickly!" Trump tweeted.

In Beijing last week, Trump blamed past US administrations for letting China's trade surplus with the United States grow over the years and he gave "China great credit" for taking advantage of the situation.

Annually, the US runs a steep trade deficit in goods with China of about $350 billion.

The US Commerce Department "determined that exporters from China sold hardwood plywood products in the United States at 183.36 percent less than fair value," a statement said.

It also determined China was providing subsidies to producers ranging from 22.3 percent to 195 percent, and said it would impose tariffs at corresponding rates.

"From January 20, 2017, through November 13, 2017, Commerce initiated 77 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations -- a 61 percent increase from 48 in the previous year," the statement said.

China's Commerce Ministry expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with the new tariffs and said the US had ignored World Trade Organization rules in applying "the discriminatory 'surrogate country' approach."

The US also "refused to consider" and "totally distorted" some of the enterprise data provided by Chinese companies, the statement said, which was attributed to Wang Hejun, the director of the trade remedy and investigation bureau.