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New Trade Case on Imports of Superabsorbent Polymers From the Republic of Korea

November 3, 2021

A new U.S. antidumping (“AD”) petition was filed on Nov. 2 by the Ad Hoc Coalition of American Superabsorbent Polymer (“SAP”) Producers against imports of SAP from the Republic of Korea.

The merchandise covered by these petitions is SAP, a granular powder that can absorb large amounts of water and other aqueous liquids. SAP is most often used in the personal care and hygiene sector as the absorbent component of diapers and personal hygiene products. It is also employed in non-hygiene applications, such as food packaging, storage, agriculture, and civil engineering. The scope of this investigation includes all SAP that is the synthetic polymer made from polyacrylic acid, which usually takes the form of sodium polyacrylate. Please see the scope section below for a full review of subject merchandise.

The petition includes AD (less than fair value) allegations against the Republic of 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 there is a reasonable indication that the imports are injuring the U.S. industry. If the ITC finds that standard is met, then the case will move to the DOC, which will calculate the preliminary AD duty margins.

The DOC’s preliminary determination is currently scheduled for April 11, 2022, which is the date when importers will be required to deposit with U.S. Customs and Border Protection the calculated duties upon the products’ entry into the U.S. market.

There are strict statutory deadlines associated with these proceedings 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:

Petitioners: Ad Hoc Coalition of American SAP Producers; known members include BASF Corporation and Evonik Superabsorber LLC

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

Alleged AD margins: Petitioners have alleged the following AD margins:

  • Republic of Korea: calculated AD margins ranging from 28.6 percent to 49.4 percent ad valorem.

Merchandise covered by the scope of the case:

The merchandise covered by this order is SAP, insoluble in water, which results from polymerization of primarily acrylic acid monomer molecules (or its sodium salts) with crosslinkers to form crosslinked polymer networks, with a high capacity to absorb and retain water and aqueous liquids, originating from the Republic of Korea.

All forms and sizes of SAP, regardless of packaging type, including but not limited to granules, pellets, powder, flakes, liquid, or gel are within the scope of this order.

The scope also includes SAP that is combined, commingled, or mixed with other products. For such combined products, only the SAP component is covered by the scope of this order. SAP that has been combined with other products is included within the scope, regardless of whether the combining occurs in third countries. A combination is excluded from this order if the total SAP component of the combination (regardless of the source or sources) comprises less than 5 percent of the combination, on a dry weight basis.

Notwithstanding the foregoing language, an SAP combination that is transformed through a chemical reaction or physical process into another product such that the SAP can no longer be separated from the other products is excluded from the scope.

SAP is classified under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) subheading 3906.90.5000. Although the HTSUS subheading is provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise is dispositive.

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

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