The US Department of Commerce (DoC) has determined that imports of paper shopping bags from nine countries are being unfairly traded.  

The investigation by DoC encompasses all paper shopping bags with handles, regardless of whether they are printed or unprinted.  

These bags are commonly used in retail establishments and restaurants and are typically made of kraft paper, although they can be made from various paper materials. 

The department’s investigation revealed that shopping bags from Cambodia, China, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Portugal, Taiwan, and Vietnam are being sold at less than fair value, which is commonly known as dumping. 

The investigation also finds that imports from China and India also are being subsidised.  

The US DoC has identified dumping margins and subsidy rates as high as 308.13%.  

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This means US importers must now pay cash deposits to customs based on the value of their imports, which could be substantial.  

For instance, a 60% rate would necessitate a $60 deposit for every $100 worth of bags imported. 

In response to a similar finding against Turkey in March, the International Trade Commission (ITC) has already determined that the US industry is materially injured by imports from Türkiye.  

Earlier in May 2024, an antidumping duty order was published and ITC will decide in mid-June if the other countries cause similar injury, potentially leading to additional orders on 8 July 2024. 

The Coalition for Fair Trade in Shopping Bags, represented by King & Spalding, has welcomed the final determinations from the US DoC.   

King & Spalding partner Mike Taylor said: “The domestic manufacturing plants and US workers greatly appreciate the hard work undertaken by Department of Commerce officials to evaluate the extent of unfair pricing practices from these countries. 

“The dumping and subsidy findings validate the petitions that were filed last summer and should help restore fair competition to the US market so that manufacturing plants and jobs can remain in the United States.”