China's Commerce Ministry is sticking to its trade restriction policy and this was recently proved again with the introduction of another protectionist tariff for imports of two types of chemicals.

In a statement posted on its website, the ministry said in late January that it was levying anti-dumping duties on imports of ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and diethylene glycol monobutyl ether coming from the United States and European Union member countries. An investigation carried out by the ministry has found that these two types of chemicals were sold to China at prices below market value, thus affecting China's domestic industry. The anti-dumping duties took effect on 28 January and will be valid for five years.

The move will translate into duties ranging from 9.3 percent to 18.8 percent for some U.S. and European chemical makers. Glycol and diethylene glycol produced by Equistar Chemicals LP and Eastman Chemical Co. will see a 10.6 percent anti-dumping duty, while those manufactured by Dow Chemical Co. and other U.S. companies will incur a 14.1 percent duty. The action will also result in a 10.8 percent anti-dumping levy against Sasol Germany Gmbh and 18.8 percent against BASF SE.

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The investigation into chemical exports coming to China was prompted by a petition from domestic chemical manufacturers. The ministry launched the probe in November 2011 and took a preliminary decision to impose anti-dumping duties on the two chemical solvents in mid-2012.

The chemicals subject to the anti-dumping duty are used in a variety of applications, including metal cleansing, paint stripping, dry cleaning and printing.

The United States and Europe have increasingly been relying on anti-dumping policies in an attempt to suspend imports from China, on concerns that products imported from the world's second-biggest economy have unfairly low costs. It seems now that China is also adopting measures to protect and promote its domestic manufacturing industry, Reuters commented.

Also in January, a U.S. trade panel endorsed the introduction of five-year duties on wind towers imported from China and Vietnam, following complaints from local manufacturers that Asian sector players were selling their products at extremely low prices, harming their businesses and causing plant closures and lay-offs. Earlier in January, the U.S. Commerce Department announced preliminary duties reaching up to 154 percent on imports of a food additive and thickening agent from China and Austria.

Trade debates between China and its trading partners are fairly common and chiefly stem from concerns that the Asian country is providing illegal subsidies to its manufacturers. China, in turn, says its trade policy is directly influenced by the uncertain global economy and protectionism.

This week, China kicked off an anti-dumping probe into pulp imports from the United States, Canada and Brazil, which will cover cellulose pulp, dissolving pulp, dissolving wood pulp, cotton linter pulp and bamboo pulp.