Sasol to stop acetone exports to US after 414.92% anti-dumping duty
The hefty import duty was the latest blow for Sasol, which is grappling with a constrained balance sheet and whose share price went into a tailspin this month as a result of coronavirus uncertainty and the subsequent fallout in the oil markets.
The USITC reported in a statement that the US industry was materially injured by acetone imports from South Africa, Belgium and Korea, adding that the country's Department of Commerce (DOC) had determined they were sold in the US at less than fair value.
Sasol, which is Africa’s only producer of acetone, said the US commerce department had initially imposed a duty band between 12.83 and 410.22percent, but due to it withdrawing its defence, the DOC selected to choose the higher end of the duty band plus a penalty, resulting in the 414.92percent import duty.
“Considering that the duty will be enforceable for such an extended period of time and considering its magnitude, the US acetone market for Sasol is closed indefinitely. Sasol will regrettably no longer export acetone to the US,” said the group last week, adding that although Sasol withdrew its defence, this was no admission of any alleged dumping.
“In fact, we are of the view that the ruling has been unjust in many respects. Sasol is committed to comply with all laws and regulations in all jurisdictions in which we operate,” said Sasol.
In 2018, the Coalition for Acetone Fair Trade lodged an investigation of alleged dumping of acetone in the US market by producers based in Belgium, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain and South Africa.
Last February, the DOC and USITC initiated the investigation against Sasol and other acetone producers. A month later, ITC held a preliminary hearing in Washington, DC, on whether these six countries under investigation caused an injury to the US domestic market for the import of acetone during the period under investigation.
Last April, the USITC held that Sasol South Africa’s import of acetone into the US domestic market caused an injury to the domestic market.
Sasol said in its response submitted to the USITC that it had presented technical evidence to the effect that its imported acetone was not a comparable product as it was benzene-free, resulting from its unique Fischer-Tropsch process.
“Sasol’s technical report was rejected,” said the group, adding that USITC failed to give due and proper regard to the content of its submission.