Auburn Manufacturing has welcomed a decision by the International Trade Commission (ITC) to continue an investigation into the alleged subsidising and dumping of certain amorphous silica fabric (ASF) in the US from China. 

The decision, Auburn Manufacturing said this week, was "extremely encouraging". The company had filed the anti-dumping and countervailing duty petition against Chinese imports of ASF in January. 

The ITC said its decision to continue with the investigation was based on a reasonable indication that the US industry producing ASF is being "materially injured" by imports from China that are allegedly subsidised and dumped in the US at less than fair value.

Auburn Manufacturing is the largest US producer of industrial grade ASF and is the principal supplier of the fabric to the country's Navy. CEO Kathie Leonard believes filing the petition was necessary to keep AMI as a viable supplier to the Navy and to protect textile workers in Maine. 

"Our profitability and growth potential have been negatively affected by Chinese trading practices, which allow producers to sell ASF at artificially low prices," she said. 

AMI's petition provided evidence the Chinese government is providing unfair subsidies to Chinese producers of ASF. This illegal subsidising, the company said, has caused the volume of imports of Chinese ASF to increase by more than 150% between 2012 and 2014. AMI further alleges the imports are not compliant with either the Buy American Act (requiring over 50% US content), or the Berry Amendment, which generally requires textiles purchased with funds allocated by the Department of Defense to be 100% of US origin.  

"If these unfair practices are not curbed, the US military will suffer because it will be unable to source these products from US companies," Leonard added. 

In the next phase of the investigation, the Department of Commerce is expected to determine the anti-dumping and countervailing duty margins attributable to Chinese exporters.