In the US, steelmakers have won a major concession in terms of blocking unfairly priced or “dumped” steel imports.
In the recently signed Trade Promotion Authority law, designed to aid workers displaced by imports, there is wording to reduce the hurdle producers have to overcome to prove material injury from imports.
Previously, domestic producers had to show two consecutive quarters of losses. Now, losing money is not a requirement to justify countervailing duties and anti-dumping actions. The change in language will make it easier for steelmakers to protect their home markets from imports deemed unfairly priced.
Bully for the US steel industry, but spare a thought for producers elsewhere. For example, in Mexico producers are forced to sack workers to force the government to take action. Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) , DeAcero and ArcelorMittal’s Mexican unit warned in a statement that if Mexico continues to import steel products at what it called “dumping prices,” the number of job cuts will rise, according to Business Insider.
AHMSA said in June it would cut its workforce by 20%, around 4,500 jobs, and suspend investments. DeAcero said it had fired 2,500 workers and suspended operations at one plant while, according to the newspaper, ArcelorMittal will cut 2,800 jobs at its Mexico operations. The producers named Russia, China and Turkey as dumping steel on markets at levels below production costs in their appeal to the government to take action.