South Korea

The Department of Commerce is investigating antidumping duty and countervailing duty investigations of imports of welded oil and gas line pipe from South Korea and Turkey.

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Circular welded carbon and alloy steel (other than stainless steel) pipe used for oil or gas pipelines is the focus of the investigation. Welded line pipe is normally produced to the American Petroleum Institute (API) specification 5L, but can be produced to comparable foreign specifications, to proprietary grades, or can be non-graded material. All pipe meeting the physical description, including multiple-stenciled pipe with an API or comparable foreign specification line pipe stencil, is covered by the scope of these investigations.

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Cheap steel products have been flowing into the United States from China, South Korea, India and elsewhere, making it much tougher for any domestic steel producer price increases to stick – and it looks as though it may be impossible to stem the tide of flooding imports anytime soon.

Record steel import numbers are harming the likes of AK Steel, Nucor and other producers, and foreign producers such as Vallourec and Tenaris getting more capacity online in the US surely isn’t helping. According to reporting by John Miller of the Wall Street Journal, “First-quarter steel imports by U.S. companies rose 36% from a year earlier to 10.6 million metric tons, according to research firm Global Trade Information Services. That was the highest level since the record 13 million tons reached in 2006.”

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According to another recent report by the Economic Policy Institute and law firm Stewart and Stewart, some 583,600 total jobs, including more than 200,000 in related manufacturing sectors, are at risk of going “poof” if imports dethrone the competitiveness of domestic steel production.

The US steel industry is not the only one being hit – aluminum imports are also at record highs.

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What do record steel and aluminum imports have in common? China, Korea, India and other countries’ governments essentially shun economics and unfairly subsidize these industries in myriad ways, creating a huge oversupply bubble.

Of course, taking recourse through the International Trade Commission (ITC), US Commerce Department and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose stricter duties and tariffs is the main way for US companies to say “We Mean Business.” But even then, it’s not a sure thing; especially since China and others will continue to over-produce as they’re incentivized to do, harming global prices. Not only that, but Commerce/ITC/WTO case determinations take months, and the latest verdicts aren’t due until later this summer – at the earliest.

So what are steel and aluminum purchasing organizations to do?

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In part one of this series, Thermal Coal Market: Too Much of a Good Thing?, Stuart Burns examined China’s demand for Asian seaborne coal. Here, he takes a hard look at Japan and South Korea’s evolving thermal coal demand in part two. FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – price trends for 10 metal markets.

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Turns out Jorge Vazquez and the rest of Harbor Aluminum’s downward revisions for 2012 aluminum prices and beyond aren’t the only ones. The rest of the metals sphere, from copper to nickel to zinc, is souring on price outlooks and forecasts as we pass the midpoint of 2012. According to a recent Reuters mid-year poll […]

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While the ink on the brand-new US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement has barely had time to cool (to say nothing of President Obama’s and President Lee Myung-bak’s mutual courtship), Korea’s domestic 800-pound-gorilla of a steelmaker POSCO has been having some problems lately. For one thing, POSCO’s profits have been, shall we say, less desirable than […]

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The US has had not one, but two huge policy developments come around this week. The US Senate voted Tuesday to pass the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Act of 2011 (S. 1619) with 63 for and 35 against, much to the chagrin of a number of Republicans including John Boehner. (Subsequent action by the People’s […]

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(Continued from Part One.) How ready the world’s gas companies will be to buy Chinese LNG carriers ultimately remains to be seen. In large part it will probably come down to how insurable they will be and that in turn will rest on the certification, such as Lloyds Register, DNV or ABS that will oversee […]

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We have written a few articles recently on China’s intentions to muscle in on the high speed rail industry; on the wind turbine industry; on solar panels; and perhaps most contentiously, in the aerospace industry, with their expressed intent to become major builders of civil aircraft with the C919 project. So you may not be […]

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A new Commerce Department report last Friday shed light on potential good news for the US economy and its trade deficit, showing that overall US exports increased while imports were down. As MetalMiner continues to digest the report, we’re also beginning to investigate the implications of the KORUS Trade Agreement between the US and South […]

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