The U.S. Commerce Department said Thursday that it initiated anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigations against imports of monosodium glutamate, which is often used as a food flavoring, from China and Indonesia.
The investigations were in response to a request from Ajinomoto North America Inc., the U.S. unit of Japan's Ajinomoto Co. that produces food and chemical products including monosodium glutamate, and pharmaceuticals, the department said in a statement.
The Illinois-based company alleged that monosodium glutamate from China and Indonesia were sold below its fair value in the U.S. market at dumping margins ranging from 64.77 percent to 204.69 percent, 50.32 percent to 58.67 percent, respectively, and that monosodium glutamate producers of these two countries benefited from improper government subsidies.
U.S. trade authority, the International Trade Commission (ITC), was scheduled to make its preliminary inquiry determination around Nov. 18.
The probes will continue if the ITC determines that the imports of monosodium glutamate from China or Indonesia materially injure or threaten the U.S. domestic industry. Then, the Commerce Department will make its determination of improper dumping or subsidies later this year or early next year.
In 2012, imports of monosodium glutamate from China and Indonesia were each estimated at 36.9 million U.S. dollars and 5.7 million dollars, according to the Commerce Department.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has repeatedly urged Washington to abide by its commitment against protectionism and help maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.