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China starts review of anti-dumping measures on U.S. distillers grains

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04/15/2019 | 06:04am EDT
FILE PHOTO: A process operator holds a handful of dried distillers grains, a protein animal feed that can be fed to livestock, at the GreenField Ethanol plant in Chatham

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Ministry of Commerce confirmed it is starting a review on Monday of its anti-dumping tariffs on imports of distillers grains (DDGS) from the United States and said the investigation should be completed in a year.

The review comes amid trade talks between Beijing and Washington aimed at ending a months-long tit-for-tat tariff row that has roiled global markets. Beijing has pledged during these talks to increase its imports of U.S. farm goods.

The commerce ministry "will review whether it is necessary to continue to impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on imported DDGS from the United States," according to a statement posted it website.

Reuters reported last week that the ministry was set to review the tariffs on U.S. DDGS, citing a document issued by the China Alcoholic Drinks Association.

DDGS are a byproduct of ethanol production and have become a key part of profits for makers of the biofuel. China's tariffs on U.S. DDGS were first implemented in 2016 at a rate of 33.8 percent, and its imports of the feed ingredient fell sharply.

From January 2017, the anti-dumping duties were raised to between 42.2 percent and 53.7 percent, while anti-subsidy tariffs have ranged from 11.2 percent to 12 percent.

China bought 3 million tonnes of DDGS in 2016, mainly from the United States and worth $684 million (£522 million), according to Chinese customs data. Imports that year were down 55 percent from 2015.

"It is likely that the tariffs will be removed but it really depends on the trade talks," said a trader with an international trading house.

"It is still too risky to make any moves at this moment as tariffs are too high," the trader said.

The trader declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The commerce ministry said in its statement that any interested party can submit suggestions and evidence to the review within 20 days.

(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Tom Daly; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Tom Hogue)

By Hallie Gu and Tom Daly

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