• Kyodo

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The U.S. International Trade Commission issued a preliminary ruling Thursday that imports of high-voltage insulators from Japan’s NGK Insulators Ltd. are hurting domestic producers.

With the ruling, the Commerce Department is able to continue its antidumping investigation into the ceramic station post insulators. A preliminary determination is due around June 9.

The ITC began its preliminary investigation in December in response to a complaint from Lapp Insulator Co. and other U.S. manufacturers.

The U.S. makers allege NGK Insulators has been selling ceramic station post insulators, used in the transmission of high-voltage electricity, at less than fair market value. They want the U.S. to impose 106.6 percent antidumping duties on the NGK products.

According to NGK Insulators, the world’s largest maker of insulator for power utilities, exports of ceramic station post insulators to the United States jumped to $8 million in 2001 from $3 million in 1999. NGK has rebuffed the U.S. dumping complaint, saying the antidumping petition underplayed insulator production at its U.S. unit.

“The allegations (by U.S. producers) that they have been hurt by our products are based on many erroneous assumptions of the facts, including the underestimation of the size of our U.S. production,” NGK said in a statement.

“In the process of an investigation leading up to its preliminary determination, we will prove that our products have not inflicted any damages,” the company said.

NGK runs a subsidiary, Locke Insulators Inc., in Baltimore.

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