WASHINGTON—The U.S. International Trade Commission has launched an antidumping investigation into the imports of acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) from France, South Korea and Mexico.
The investigation, in response to a June 30 petition by Louisville, Ky.-based Zeon Chemicals LP, will study whether the domestic industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury as a result of the imports.
The Commission expects to hold a hearing on July 21 and reach a preliminary determination by Aug. 16. The ITC's views then will be submitted to the Department of Commerce for further decision-making within five business days.
NBR in the latex form is excluded from the scope of this investigation, as is NBR containing additives; NBR containing rubber processing chemicals; NBR containing other materials used for further processing beyond the polymerization process; and hydrogenated NBR produced by subsequent dissolution and hydrogenation of NBR.
With those exclusions, Zeon said in its petition that only its NBR factory in Louisville, Ky., makes the type of NBR covered under the trade action. Its facility in Bayport, Texas, and the Arlanxeo one in Orange, Texas, only produce HNBR, according to Zeon.
The NBR in question is used in a wide range of mechanical rubber goods, including hose, oil and gas components, wire and cable, rollers, O-rings and many others.
Zeon in its petition listed Kuhmo Petrochemical and LG Chemical Ltd. as known producers of the NBR in South Korea, Dynasol Group's INSA in Mexico and Arlanxeo in France.
The firm alleged dumping margins of 72.27 percent in France, 97 percent in Mexico and 110.31 percent in South Korea.
Zeon also said that while imports of the NBR in question dropped 28.9 percent from 2018 to 2020, Zeon's domestic shipments fell by an even greater rate. Because of the alleged dumping actions, Zeon said capacity utilization was cut by nearly half and its operations went from a profitable situation to a negative balance sheet.
"The reasons given by customers for moving away from purchasing NBR from the domestic industry almost uniformly revolve around price, and often, the lower price specifically of subject imports," Zeon said in its petition.
Should the ITC vote to go ahead with the trade action, the Commerce Department's schedule would call for it to make a preliminary determination by Dec. 7 and a final decision by Feb. 21, 2022. The ITC would then look to make a final antidumping decision by April 6, 2022.
Rubber & Plastics News contributed to this report.