New Trade Case on Imports of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene from South Korea

By Mark R. Ludwikowski / Mar 05, 2020

A new U.S. antidumping (“AD”) petition was filed on March 3, 2020, by Celanese Corporation against imports of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (“UHMWPE”) from the Republic of South Korea.

This petition covers UHMWPE, a substantially linear polyethylene, in granular or powder form, and differentiated from other PE standard grades by a very high degree of polymerization and is used in a wide array of applications in multiple industries, including but not limited to, construction, agriculture, material handling, transportation, textile, pulp and paper, food and beverage, mining, marine, plastics, oil and gas, high performance fibers, battery separators, and waste water treatment.

The petition includes an AD (less than fair value) allegation against Korea. The Department of Commerce (“DOC”) and the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) will conduct the investigation.  Within the next 45 days, the ITC will determine if the imports are injuring the U.S. industry. If the ITC finds injury, then the case will move to the DOC which will calculate the preliminary AD duty margin. The DOC’s preliminary determination is currently scheduled for August 10, 2020, which is the date when importers will be required to deposit the calculated duties upon the products’ entry in the U.S. market.

There are strict statutory deadlines associated with this proceeding and affected companies are advised to prepare as soon as possible. If this product is of interest to you, please let us know so that we can provide you with additional information as it becomes available.

The following are key facts about this trade case:

Petitioner: Celanese Corporation

Foreign Producers/Exporters and U.S. Importers:  Please contact us for a listing of individual companies named in the petition.

Alleged AD margins:  Petitioner has alleged the following AD margins:

  • Calculated AD margins ranging from 15.74 to 81.88 percent

Merchandise covered by the scope of the case:

The merchandise covered by the proposed scope is Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE). UHMWPE is a linear polyethylene, in granular or powder form. It is defined by its melt mass-flow rate of <0.1 g/10 min, measured at 190°C and 21.6 kg load, based on the methods and calculations set forth in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards 21304-1 and 21304-2. UHMWPE generally has a Chemical Abstract Service (“CAS”) registration number of 9002-88-4.

The scope includes all UHMWPE in granular or powder forms meeting the above specifications regardless of additives introduced in the manufacturing process. UHMWPE blended with other products is included in the scope of this investigation where UHMWPE is the predominant material within the blend.

Excluded from the scope of the investigation is medical-grade UHMWPE. Medical grade UHMWPE has a minimum viscosity of 2000 ml/g at a concentration of 0.02% at 135°C (275 °F) in decahydronaphthalene and an elongational stress of 0.2 MPa or greater. Medical-grade UHMWPE is further defined by its ash and trace element content, which shall not exceed the following maximum quantities as set forth in ISO-5834-1: ash (125 mg/kg), titanium (40 mg/kg), calcium (5 mg/kg), chlorine (30 mg/kg), and aluminum (20 mg/kg). ISO 5834-1 further defines medical grade UHMWPE by its particulate matter content, which requires that there shall be no more than three particles of contaminant per 300 ± 20 g tested. Each of the above criteria is calculated based on the standards and methods used in ISO 5834-1.

UHMWPE is classifiable under the HTS US subheadings 3901.10.10.00 and 3901.20.10.00. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the proposed scope is dispositive.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Mark Ludwikowski (mludwikowski@clarkhill.com; 202-640-6680), Kevin Williams (kwilliams@clarkhill.com; 312-985-5907); William Sjoberg (wsjoberg@clarkhill.com; 202-772-0924), Courtney Gayle Taylor (cgtaylor@clarkhill.com; 202-552-2350); or another member of Clark Hill's International Trade Business Unit.