US International Trade Commission rules in favour of Chinese fluorochemicals imports

By Antonio Torrisi
Published: Thursday, 27 November 2014

Chinese refrigerants do not harm US industry; US ITC abolishes payment of antidumping duties; Mexichem considers appealing against ITC

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has determined that imports of R-134a fluorochemicals from China do not materially injure or threaten the US refrigerants industry.

The resolution, which was passed by four votes to two, abolishes all antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of this fluoro-gas from China.

The ITC’s ruling also contradicts the verdict from the US Department of Commerce in October, which proposed the payment of an antidumping duty of 280.67% and countervailing duties of 11.14% on Chinese fluorochemicals.

The world’s leading fluorspar and fluorochemicals producer, Mexichem, said it was considering appealing the ruling by the ITC.

The company said in its third quarter results of this year that a positive resolution against imports of Chinese refrigerants would have a beneficial impact on demand and prices of fluorochemicals in the US market.

Mexichem is a fully integrated producer of refrigerant gases, hydrofluoric acid (HF) and fluorspar, with its fluorine chain accounting for the largest part of its revenues.

Speaking at IM’s Fluorspar 2014 conference in Miami in November, Mexichem Fluor’s CEO, Andres Mugica, said that the company’s future strategy will focus on further vertical integration, with the development of fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers businesses within its fluorine chain.

He added that, while HF will remain a core business, Mexichem wants to take advantage of its fluorspar resources and reduce the content of arsenic impurities in order to remain more competitive in the market. 

Mugica said that the company expects new regulations on fluoro-gases in Europe will promote clarity and stability in the global refrigerant markets and that the mobile air-conditioning (MAC) directive in 2017 will promote the transition to low global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluorolefines (HFOs) for refrigerants.

The company is also planning to develop HFO products for the medical sector and for the automotive industry in order to meet the targets sets by the MAC directive for the 2017, Mugica said.