On February 19, 2019, the Coalition for Acetone Fair Trade (Coalition) filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (Commission) seeking antidumping duties (ADD) on imports of acetone from Belgium, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and Spain. The Coalition consists of U.S. acetone producers AdvanSix Inc., Altivia Petrochemicals, LLC and Olin Corporation. According to the Coalition, acetone imports from these countries are being sold at less than fair value in the United States – with the U.S. market in a state of “significant oversupply” – and causing material injury and threatening further material injury to the domestic industry if ADD are not imposed.

Acetone, also known as propan-2-one, β-ketopropane (or “beta-ketopropane”), ketone propane, methyl ketone, dimethyl ketone, DMK, dimethyl carbonyl, propanone, 2-propanone, dimethyl formaldehyde, pyroacetic acid, pyroacetic ether and pyroactic sprit, is an isomer of the chemical formula C3H6O, with a specific molecular formula of CH3COCH3 or (CH3)2CO. Acetone is a solvent for fats, oils, waxes, resins, rubber, plastics, lacquers, varnishes and rubber cements. It is used in the manufacture of coatings, plastics, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, as well as in the production of other solvents and intermediates. The Coalition states that acetone enters the United States under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings 2914.11.1000 and 2914.11.5000. The Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) registry number for acetone is 67-64-1. The proposed scope of the petition also includes acetone that is combined or mixed with other products, including, but not limited to, benzene, diethyl ether, methanol, chloroform and ethanol. For such combined products, the petition states that only the acetone component would be covered by the scope of the investigation.

According to the Coalition, of total U.S. imports from December 2017 to November 2018, acetone imports from these countries represented 26.8 percent from Belgium, 38.6 percent from Korea, 4.7 percent from Saudi Arabia, 4.9 percent from Singapore, 10.8 percent from South Africa and 11.3 percent from Spain. The Coalition claims that imports of acetone from these countries increased 61 percent from 2016 to 2017 and that imports for 2018 represented a 64 percent increase over 2017. As a result, the Coalition claims that unfairly priced acetone imports are having significant, negative price effects resulting in lost sales and revenue to the domestic industry.

The petition lists both a large number of foreign producers and exporters that shipped acetone products to the United States at allegedly dumped prices from these countries as well as the U.S. importers of those products.

Commerce will determine by March 11, 2019, whether to formally initiate the investigations and, if Commerce does, the Commission will decide within 25 days after that whether there is a reasonable indication of existing material injury or threat of material injury to the domestic acetone industry that will require continuation of the investigation.

Thompson Hine is monitoring this matter closely. For additional information or to obtain a copy of the petition, please contact us.