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The government will launch an investigation Monday to decide whether antidumping duties should be imposed on polyester staple fiber imported from South Korea and Taiwan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced Friday.

The investigation will cover a kind of polyester staple fiber used mainly in the manufacture of futon and carpets shipped into Japan by six South Korean companies and eight Taiwanese firms.

The ministry will draw its final conclusion on whether to impose duties within one year of the start of the investigation.

The imposition of antidumping duties is allowed under the trade rules of the World Trade Organization when the trade of domestic producers is being damaged by imported goods that are sold at prices unfairly lower than their market prices in exporting countries, trade ministry officials said.

If the investigation confirms the presence of illegal dumping practices, the government can impose antidumping duties in addition to ordinary tariffs for up to five years.

The WTO trade rules also enable a country to temporarily raise tariffs for up to four months if certain conditions are met.

In February, five Japanese textile companies asked the Finance Ministry to impose antidumping duties on polyester staple fiber imported from South Korea and Taiwan.

The firms claimed that the textile products are being imported at unfairly cheap prices and are affecting their trade.

Based on this request, the Trade and Finance ministries conducted a preparatory study and concluded that there is sufficient evidence for a formal investigation to be launched into the matter.

Japan has launched dumping investigations five times in the past and has imposed antidumping duties twice as a result. Antidumping duties were imposed in 1993 on a manganese-based alloy imported from China, and in 1995 on cotton yarn imported from Pakistan.

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