Japan today announced it is to impose antidumping duties of up to 13.5 per cent on South Korean companies and 10.3 per cent on Taiwanese companies for exporting polyester staple fibre at unfair prices. It is the first time since 1995 that Japan has imposed such levies.

Officials at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said 26 South Korean and 13 Taiwanese companies will be subject to the duties, Kyodo News reported.

The decision follows a joint probe by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Finance Ministry that began in April last year and will be formalised next Tuesday at a Cabinet meeting.

Under World Trade Organization rules countries are permitted to impose antidumping duties for up to five years if they find import prices are set unfairly lower than local prices in exporting economies and cause damage to domestic industries.