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U.S. Probes Steel Dumping Complaint

Thursday, July 2, 2015

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WASHINGTON--Two federal agencies are investigating claims by American steel makers that their industry is unlawfully being buried by a flood of cheap imports.

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Administration announced June 24 that they had launched antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of corrosion-resistant steel products from China, India, Italy, Korea and Taiwan.

Steel Makers Appeal

The move came in response to antidumping and countervailing duty petitions filed earlier in the month by Steel Dynamics Inc., AK Steel Corporation, ArcelorMittal USA, California Steel Industries, Nucor Corp. and U.S. Steel Corp.

AKSteel
AK Steel

AK Steel's CEO says its products are losing out to a "tidal wave" of "dumped and subsidized imports."

The six suppliers argue that a flood of poor-quality overseas steel, enabled by fat subsidies from the manufacturers' governments, is damaging the U.S. steel industry.

"The surge of unfairly traded imports of corrosion-resistant steel has materially impacted our shipments, pricing and profitability," Steel Dynamics president and CEO Mark Millett said in a statement.

AK Steel chairman, president and CEO James L. Wainscott said the U.S. steel industry was sinking under a "tidal wave of what we believe are unfairly dumped and subsidized imports of corrosion-resistant steel coming into this country."

The companies want the U.S. to impose countervailing duties (also known as anti-subsidy duties) to neutralize the negative effects of those subsidies.

What's Affected

Dumping occurs "when a foreign company sells a product in the United States at less than its fair value," the agencies explain in a Fact Sheet about their investigation.

Steel MarkMillett
"The surge of unfairly traded imports of corrosion-resistant steel has materially impacted our shipments, pricing and profitability," said Steel Dynamics' Mark Millett, whose coil coating line in Jeffersonville, IN, is at left.
Steel Dynamics

CVD subsidies are "financial assistance from foreign governments that benefit the production or goods from foreign companies."

Countervailing duties are intended to offset subsidies provided by foreign governments and benefit the production of a particular good.

The products covered by the investigations are "certain flat-rolled steel products, either clad, plated, or coated with corrosion-resistant metals such as zinc, aluminum, or zinc-, aluminum-, nickel- or iron-based alloys, whether or not corrugated or painted, varnished, laminated, or coated with plastics or other non-metallic substances in addition to the metallic coating."

Corrosion-resistant steel is widely used in construction and infrastructure applications such as bridge decks, guard rails, culverts, roofing, siding and hardware.

Dumpingmargins
U.S. Commerce Department

U.S. steel makers say the cheap, lower-quality steel flooding the American market is heavily subsidized by the host manufacturers' governments.

The material is also used in the manufacture of automobiles, trucks, appliances, industrial equipment and agricultural equipment.

Several types of steel and clad products are excluded from the investigation, the Fact Sheet notes.

85% Spike

In their petition, the companies contended that "imports of corrosion-resistant sheet steel between 2012 and 2014 from the five subject countries increased 85 percent, from 1.5 million to 2.75 million tons."

In 2014, the countries exported more than $2.2 billion of corrosion-resistant steel to the United States.

Furthermore, imports increased by one-third just in the first quarter of 2015—from 600,000 to 800,000 tons—and, based on licensing data, have increased again in the second quarter, the companies said.

ChineseSteel
wghongxing88.en.made-in-china.com

Imports of corrosion-resistant steel from China (pictured), India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan jumped by 85 percent in two years and are still increasing, U.S. steel makers say.

More than 15 percent of the U.S. market was lost to the imports, which more than doubled their market share between 2012 and the first quarter of 2015.

Next Steps

The International Trade Commmission is scheduled to make its preliminary injury determination by July 20. If the commission finds "reasonable indication" that the steel products "materially injure, or threaten material injury to, the domestic industry," the investigations continue.

The Commerce Department would then make its preliminary CVD determination in August and its preliminary AD determination in November. Final determinations and orders would follow within one to four months after that

If the ITC's preliminary determination is negative, the investigations end there.

   

Tagged categories: Government; Infrastructure; Shop-applied coatings; Steel; Structural steel

Comment from Scott Perkins, (7/2/2015, 8:56 AM)

Why don't owners and architects specify U.S. Steel?


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (7/6/2015, 8:15 AM)

Highway/bridge projects are supposed to fall under the federal "Buy American" steel provisions. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/cqit/buyam.cfm


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