Aluminium firm Zhongwang seeks legal advice after US charges

In this May 8, 2009 file photo, Liu Zhongtian, the Chinese billionaire chairman of the China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, celebrates at the company's listing ceremony in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. (AP)
Updated 05 August 2019

Aluminium firm Zhongwang seeks legal advice after US charges

  • In its statement, Zhongwang said its board believed the legal proceedings had so far had no material adverse impact on the company’s operations or its financial condition

BEIJING: China Zhongwang Holdings said on Sunday it was seeking legal advice after the company and its controlling shareholder, Liu Zhongtian, were indicted on charges they evaded $1.8 billion of tariffs by smuggling aluminum into the US.
Zhongwang said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it and Liu had still not been served with any notice in relation to the legal proceedings.
“The company takes seriously any allegations that it may have violated any law, and is seeking legal advice in relation to the alleged proceeding,” it said in the statement, adding it would keep shareholders informed of further developments.
Zhongwang is based in northeast China’s Liaoning province and makes aluminum products for the automotive and construction industries.
US prosecutors have alleged that companies affiliated with Liu used ports in the Los Angeles area to import aluminum from China that was disguised as a finished product not subject to duties, before making bogus sales.

FASTFACT

• Zhongwang says operations, finances not impacted.

• Firm could face monetary penalties.

• Company and founder Liu Zhongtian indicted in US.

• Zhongwang makes aluminum products for the automotive and construction industries.

Zhongwang has previously described smuggling allegations as “misleading” and “without any factual basis.”
Liu stepped down as Zhongwang chairman in 2017 but remains its largest shareholder with a 74.16 percent stake, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.
“If the allegations were proven in court, the company could face monetary penalties,” Zhongwang said in the statement.
Zhongwang’s share price fell by 14.2 percent on Thursday, after the indictment was reported, and fell a further 7.6 percent on Friday to end the week on HK$3.18 ($0.4062), its lowest close since October 2015.
In its statement, Zhongwang said its board believed the legal proceedings had so far had no material adverse impact on the company’s operations or its financial condition.
“The company continues to operate as normal,” it said, adding that a further announcement would be published if the situation changes.


Japanese officials cautious on prospects for US trade deal

Updated 22 sec ago

Japanese officials cautious on prospects for US trade deal

  • A long-sought trade pact with Japan was scrapped when Donald Trump withdrew the US from a pan-Pacific trade agreement shortly after taking office in 2017
  • Trump said he preferred that Washington and Tokyo strike a bilateral deal
TOKYO: Officials in Japan appeared wary over the prospects for a trade deal with the US after President Donald Trump said he was prepared to sign a pact soon.
Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said Tuesday that the two sides are still finalizing details after reaching a basic agreement in late August on trade in farm products, digital trade and other industries.
Suga said Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are considering signing a deal in late September when they attend the UN General Assembly in New York.
“We are accelerating the work that still remains,” he said. “But I decline to comment further because we have not reached a formal agreement.”
Trump’s notice to Congress, released by the White House on Monday, did not mention tariffs on autos and parts, long a sticking point between the two countries.
It said his administration was looking forward to collaborating with lawmakers on a deal that would result in “more fair and reciprocal trade” between the two countries.
Toshimitsu Motegi, who became foreign minister last week after negotiating the deal as economy minister, said Japan must watch carefully to prevent Washington from forcing any last-minute changes, Kyodo News agency reported.
The agricultural minister, Taku Eto, cautioned against letting down Tokyo’s guard until the final agreement is reached, it said.
A long-sought trade agreement with Japan was scrapped when Trump withdrew the US from a pan-Pacific trade agreement shortly after taking office in 2017.
Japan and the other 10 remaining members of the trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, then renegotiated their own deal without the US
Trump said he preferred that Washington and Tokyo strike a bilateral deal.
That resurrected the longtime issue of tariffs on Japanese car and auto parts exports to the US and of stiffer duties on US exports of farm and other products to Japan.