It was no surprise last week when AK Steel Corp., ArcelorMittal USA LLC, Nucor Corp., Steel Dynamics, Inc., and U.S. Steel Corp. filed petitions with the Commerce Dept. and the US International Trade Commission against eight countries the domestic industry believes are receiving illegal government subsidies and “dumping” flat cold-rolled coil products here.
The eight countries included in the anti-dumping petitions and the dumping margins alleged by AK Steel and the domestic industry are:
- Brazil, 50 to 59.74% subsidy rate
- China, 265.98%
- India, 42.28%
- Japan, 82.58%
- South Korea, 93.32 to 176.13%
- Netherlands, 47.36 to 136.46%
- Russia, 69.12 to 320.45%
- The United Kingdom 47.64 to 84.34%
The petitions also allege that the foreign producers benefit from numerous countervailable subsidies.
Again, this was no surprise as the case with China, in particular, has been well-documented and this isn’t the first go around with anti-dumping duties with most of these countries. What will be interesting to see, however, is how new trade remedy measures adopted by the federal government as part of two trade bills signed by President Obama in June, will affect enforcement of anti-dumping or countervailable duties that come out of these petitions.
At the time American Iron and Steel Institute President and CEO Thomas Gibson said, “We thank the Administration for recognizing the critical role of the steel industry by supporting these initiatives to improve the effectiveness of our anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws.”
Part of the remedies in the trade package was language that would force US Customs Enforcement and Border Protection to tariff imports more stringently, eliminating loopholes that allowed countries to essentially created stops in other ports to disguise the origin of shipments.
“AK Steel and the domestic industry have been facing a surge of what we believe are unfairly dumped and subsidized imports of cold-rolled steel coming into this country,” James L. Wainscott, chairman, president and CEO of AK Steel said in a statement. “The negative impact to our company and to other U.S. producers has been significant in terms of pricing, production, sales and earnings.”
If the new measures deliver high margin tariffs and enforceable import protections it will be the culmination of decades of legislative of enforcement work by the US steel industry. Work that began as far back as the North American Free Trade Agreement.