We’ve been busy keeping up with a rush of fun international trade activity within metals markets this week, so we figured it was time for our inaugural, if experimental, installation of MetalMiner’s “Dump Watch.”
First on the docket, another kerfluffle involving the US manufacturing industry and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement talks – namely, Ford Motor Company’s issue with Japan entering those talks.
Ford Motor and Abenomics Do Not Mix
Ford Motor’s Steve Biegun, their Washington-based vice-president for international governmental affairs, spoke out against Japan’s recent actions, specifically related to how they treat exports and the value of the yen.
“Japan does not embrace the model of free trade. It’s a mercantilist system where export driven growth is the priority and Abenomics, to the extent that we’ve seen it play out so far, it seems largely to be repackaged ‘Japan Inc’ rhetoric: facilitating subsidised exports and casting that as competitiveness,” Biegun told the Financial Times.
Many other companies feel jeopardized by Japan’s playing unfairly in global markets, and the American Automotive Policy Council has spoken out against it, among others. This reminds us of another Asian economic power playing unfairly, also in the realm of a previous round of TPP talks held here in Chicago, as we covered with Tim Brightbill of Wiley Rein LLP in this interview:
Some Illegal Anti-Dumping Activity
These idiots thought it a good idea to use false invoices to ship aluminum extrusions from China to avoid paying nearly $30 million in anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
The lesson seems to be that you’ll always pay, somehow, for buying cheaper metal from China than sourcing it from US-based companies.
But hey, let’s look on the bright side: sourcing aluminum or other metals from China is not illegal by any means, and it’s especially not illegal to track the prices from global markets (including China, India and Korea); in fact, we encourage it – here’s one way to get started.
Progress in US Steel Corp Pipe Case?
Lastly, here’s some good news on the anti-dumping front.
While Japan is ticking off US automotive OEMs, they’re stepping back a bit from getting the US steel industry too riled up. Because of global pressure on illegal dumping activity, Japan’s and other Asian countries’ steelmakers are pulling back on their exports.
“We are refraining from exporting certain products and to certain areas due to concerns over trade conflicts,” Jun Kadota, general manager at the main steel unit of JFE Holdings Inc, the second-biggest steelmaker in Japan and No.9 in the world, is quoted as saying in a recent Reuters article.
Even though the US did not name Japan in the most recent blockbuster anti-dumping case (read the full details here), Japanese steel companies are still worried.
“Should other countries accelerate steel exports to areas where there is strong demand, it may spark off a trade war and I am afraid that Japan will get caught up because we are an exporter,” said Ryuichi Yamashita, director at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to Reuters.
Of course, most of this stems from global steel overcapacity. When will the situation change? Read more on that here.