By  on May 15, 2009

WASHINGTON — The U.S. International Trade Commission voted Thursday to move forward with a trade remedy case involving imported plastic retail bags from Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan, which could have implications for industries such as textiles.

The ITC determined there is the threat of injury or actual injury to the domestic industry from imports of retail bags from the countries named in the investigation. The ruling clears the way for the Commerce Department’s Import Administration to move ahead with its parallel investigation to determine if the bags are being dumped on the U.S. market below fair market value or if the foreign governments have subsidized the category.

The ITC’s decision marks the first time it has ruled on illegally subsidized imports from Vietnam, which could lead to punitive tariffs on those products. For the ITC to decide in the preliminary stage that trade remedy charges are relevant it must find a “reasonable indication” the foreign government is providing financial assistance that benefits the product under investigation, said an ITC spokeswoman.

The majority of ITC rulings are affirmative in the preliminary stage, said Gary Horlick, a Washington-based lawyer who previously helmed the Import Administration, but only about half the cases filed end up having duties imposed. If the Commerce Department findings are also affirmative, the ITC will determine final injuries.

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