The DoC’s International Trade Administration (ITA) said on November 13 that preliminary investigations revealed Chinese producers/exporters had sold citric acid and citrate salts in the US at 119.41 to 156.87 percent below regular market value.
Canadian producers/exporters had sold discounted material at 20.88 percent below market prices.
The citrate salts included sodium citrate, potassium citrate and crude forms of calcium citrate.
The petition was lodged in April by Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill and Tate & Lyle Americas. The DoC is due to make its final determinations in April and issue orders on May 26. 2009.
These may include anti-dumping measures if it is deemed the activities are damaging to, or threaten to damage, the US domestic citric acid and citrate salts industries.
Companies cited in the investigation include Jungbunzlauer Technology in Canada and Yixing Union Biochemical and Shandong TTCS Biochemistry in China.
The US imported $48.3m worth Canadian citric acid and citrate salts material and Chinese material worth $63.5m in 2007, according to the ITA. The global citric acids market is valued at about $1.72 billion and growing at between 3-5 per cent yearly.
Citric acid and citrate salts are used in various functional food and beverage products, often to boost antioxidant levels as well as possessing flavourant and preservative properties. They are also used in laundry detergents and household cleaning products.
ADM and Tate & Lyle have closed Chinese citric facilities in recent times citing margin pressure that has not been eased by price increases as input costs have continued to surge.
Spot prices vary between regions and are estimated at between $2135-$2565 in Latin America, $1540-$1710 in Asia and $1895-$2145 in Europe.
The European Commission concluded in June that Chinese suppliers were dumping citric acid in European markets and slapped a duty of up to 50 per cent on Chinese imports after finding imports were unfairly undercutting local suppliers by up to 21 per cent.
The European Union’s 27 Member States are due to decide by year’s end whether to maintain the duties for a further five years.