SINGAPORE: Singapore is "closely" monitoring the newly announced anti-dumping measures by China on a form of synthetic rubber and is "engaging" the Chinese government as well as affected companies, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Friday (Apr 20).
China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday that it will levy temporary anti-dumping duties on halogenated butyl rubber imported from the United States, European Union (EU) and Singapore given that dumping has caused “substantial damage” to its domestic industry.
The measures take effect on Friday.
In response to queries, an MTI spokesperson said: “We are following the developments closely and engaging the Chinese government as well as affected companies.”
MTI’s emailed response noted that China initiated anti-dumping investigations on imported halogenated butyl rubber from the US, the EU and Singapore on Aug 30, 2017. The provisional measures announced on Thursday are based on the preliminary findings of this investigation.
Chinese authorities will hold a hearing on the anti-dumping investigations on May 3, MTI added.
Halogenated butyl rubber is a key material for the production of tyres and is used primarily for the inner linings of tubeless tires.
Citing figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UOB economist Francis Tan said Singapore is the 7th biggest exporter of synthetic rubber in the world.
In 2016, the global export value of synthetic rubber was US$15.5 billion, with Singapore accounting for US$879 million, or 5.7 per cent, of exports. The US is the largest exporter with 15 per cent of the global market share, followed by Japan and Korea.
China’s latest move comes on the back of a simmering trade confrontation with the US, which has seen a series of tit-for-tat tariffs being announced over the past weeks.
But given that this anti-dumping investigation commenced last year, Mr Tan from UOB said it remains "too early to tell" if the latest measures signal an escalation in global trade tensions.
Nonetheless, companies such as ExxonMobil will inevitably be impacted, said Mr Tan.
Energy giant ExxonMobil has a halobutyl rubber facility on Jurong Island. A press release dated October 2014 said the company is a "major supplier of halobutyl rubber to the global tyre industry" and the new facility in Singapore "will add production capacity of 140,000 tonnes per year".
In light of the anti-dumping measures from China, an ExxonMobil spokesman said the company is “carefully studying” the preliminary findings and will continue its cooperation with the relevant authorities.
“ExxonMobil and its affiliates are committed to operating ethically, responsibly and in full compliance with the laws, rules and regulations of all countries that are applicable to the business,” it said in a emailed response to Channel NewsAsia.