China's Ministry of Commerce has initiated antidumping investigations on styrene monomer imports from South Korea, Taiwan and the US, following a recent petition filed by Chinese SM producers, as per a ministry statement. The investigations came on the heels of a notice sent to South Korea's embassy in Beijing dated June 12, S&P Global Platts reported previously. The petition was filed collectively on May 25 by six Chinese SM producers, namely Changzhou Donghao Chemical, Tianjin Dagu Chemical, Jiangsu Leasty Chemical, New Solar, Ningbo Keyuan Plastic and Shandong Shengyuan Petrochemical. They are further supported by 6 other major private and state enterprises including PetroChina Daqing Petrochemical, PetroChina Dushanzi Petrochemical, Shandong Heze Yuhuang Chemical and Shanghai Secco Petrochemical.
The statement acknowledged that the six producers as well as the 6 companies supporting the petition collectively produced more than 50% of China's total SM output in each of the last four years starting 2013, and hence the petition is legitimate and congruent with China's current antidumping guidelines. The investigations, covering SM imports from South Korea, Taiwan and the US over January 1-December 31, 2016, are expected to be concluded before June 23, 2018 but may be extended to December 23, 2018 under special circumstances, the statement added.
China imported 3.5 mln mt of SM last year, of which 1.23 mln, or 35%, came from South Korea -- making it the largest SM supplier to China, according to Chinese customs data. Meanwhile, China's total SM demand has gradually increased from 8.49 mln mt in 2013 to 9.1 mln mt in 2016, at an average annual growth rate of 2.38%. China's domestic styrene monomer production is currently about 8.39 mln mt/year, according to industry sources, and is expected to rise by 2.3 mln mt/year to 10.7 mln mt/year by 2019. New capacity coming on stream later this year includes Qingdao Soda Ash's 500,000 mtpa SM line and Ningbo Keyuan's expansion by 100,000 mtpa to 150,000 mtpa.