WASHINGTON - A U.S. trade panel on Friday approved two new investigations into charges of unfair trade practices by China, but rejected another one week ahead of President Barack Obama's trip to Asia.
The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 6-0 to back the Commerce Department's investigation into allegations Chinese and Indonesian companies are selling coated paper used for magazines and greeting cards at unfairly low prices.
It also approved an investigation of charges Chinese producers are dumping three types of salts in the United States, but excluded a fourth category from the probe.
Finally, the panel rejected by a vote of 6-0 an investigation into charges China and Taiwan were dumping certain standard steel fasteners in the United States.
The United States imported $229 million of the glossy paper covered by the investigation from China in 2008 and $53 million from Indonesia.
U.S. producers NewPage Corp, Appleton Coated LLC and Warren Company joined with the United Steelworkers union in asking for anti-dumping duties ranging up to 136 percent on imports from China and up to 41 percent from Indonesia.
The companies also want additional countervailing duties on the imports to offset alleged Chinese government subsidies.
In the salts case, U.S. companies ICL Performance Products and Prayon Inc asked for antidumping duties ranging up to 178 percent and additional countervailing duties on some $31.5 million of imports from China.
It was not immediately clear how the one salt type excluded from the investigation affected that total.
The ITC's rejection of the probe into imports of certain standard steel fasteners from China and Taiwan is a disappointment for Nucor Fasteners.
The company, a division of Nucor, one of the United States biggest steel companies, had requested antidumping duties ranging up to 206 percent on imports from China and up to 114 percent on imports from Taiwan.
The United States imported $291 million of the fasteners from China in 2008 and $395 million from Taiwan.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Doina Chiacu)