SEOUL-- A South Korean delegation expressed concerns over China's move to impose anti-dumping duties on styrene monomer (SM) imports and called for a transparent investigation of its products during a public hearing Tuesday.

Officials from the commerce and foreign ministries delivered their view at a public hearing held by the Chinese commerce ministry in Beijing, which was also attended by officials from Hanwha Total Petrochemical Co., a major South Korean exporter.

Styrene is used to make polystyrene, which in turn is used to make plastics and foam containers.

"The South Korean government said SM prices in the Chinese market were set in parallel with the global market and Korean products do not cause damage to the Chinese industry," the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a release. "If the Chinese government levies anti-dumping duties on Korean imports, it would add a burden to Chinese buyers and hurt the interests of the Chinese public."

Beijing began its investigation in June at the request of six petrochemical companies, which claimed cheap SM imports from South Korea, the United States and Taiwan were hurting the domestic industry.

South Korea is the largest SM exporter to China, shipping US$1.25 worth of styrene in 2016 to account for 35 percent of its market share.

Petrochemical exporters have been facing growing protectionism in China, which has launched anti-dumping probes into major materials, including methyl isobutyl ketone in March and nitrile rubber earlier this month.

Source: Yonhap News Agency