“Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of imports of steel wheels 12 to 16.5 inches in diameter from China, finding that exporters from China have been dumping certain steel wheels in the United States at margins ranging from 38.27 to 44.35 percent,” the DOC announced.
The case was prompted by a petition from Elkhart, Indiana-based Dexstar Wheel, a division of Americana Development, Inc.
According to the DOC, imports of steel wheels from China in 2017 were valued at $87.2 million. By volume, the U.S. imported 42,195 metric tons of the product in 2015, which jumped to 46,264 metric tons in 2016 and 50,656 metric tons in 2017, according to a DOC fact sheet.
The department calculated dumping margins of 38.27% for Changzhou Chungang Machinery Co., Ltd and a 44.35% China-wide margin.
The scope of the investigation included “certain on-the-road steel wheels, discs, and rims for tubeless tires with a nominal wheel diameter of 12 inches to 16.5 inches, regardless of width.”
The next step is a final determination by the DOC, scheduled to come down by July 2, 2019. If the DOC rules in the affirmative again and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) also issues a final affirmative determination, the DOC will then issue an anti-dumping order.
The ITC is scheduled to make its final determination by Aug. 15, 2019.
According to the DOC, the Trump administration has initiated 157 new anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations, marking a 283% increase from investigations launched during the equivalent period of the previous administration.
Trade talks aiming at a resolution to trade differences between the U.S. and China are ongoing. Reuters reported the next round of talks is scheduled for April 30 in Beijing, with additional talks scheduled for May 8 in Washington, D.C.
The Aluminum Association Trade Enforcement Working Group filed a petition requesting relief from imports of Chinese aluminum foil in May 2017. Almost one year later, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on aluminum foil from China ranging from 55-176%.
Since then, according to an Aluminum Association white paper released Tuesday titled “Targeted Trade Enforcement in Action: Aluminum Foil AD/CVD One Year Later,” imports of Chinese aluminum foil have fallen significantly.
Imports of aluminum foil from China by volume fell 64% from 2017 to 2018, down from 272.4 million tons to 97.7 million tons. The white paper also notes imports of “unfairly traded aluminum foil” from China accounted for 60% of U.S. import market share in 2017, but just 20% in 2018.
Monthly U.S. imports of Chinese aluminum foil, 2010-2018. Source: Aluminum Association
The white paper also touts an increase in investment in the domestic aluminum industry.
“Companies like JW Aluminum and Granges worked for the past several years to reinvest in the U.S. foil industry,” the Aluminum Association white paper states. “These firms have announced substantial capital investments – with a combined value of approximately $169 million – to expand and strengthen facilities at which they manufacture aluminum foil.”
Aluminum Association President and CEO Heidi Brock lauded the trade action’s impact on the domestic aluminum industry.
“One year after taking strong action to enforce our nation’s trade laws, we are seeing clear and significant progress in the U.S. aluminum foil market,” Brock said. “We’d once again like to recognize the hard work of the administration, including the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission, in helping aluminum foil producers in the U.S. to compete on a level-playing field.”
Brock also highlighted the action taken vis-a-vis aluminum foil compared with the Trump administration’s blanket tariffs on steel and aluminum imports via a Section 232 probe. In that case, the Aluminum Association has called for the tariffs on trading partners like Canada and Mexico to be removed and for the Trump administration’s trade enforcement focus to be squared on Chinese overcapacity.
“Not all tariffs are created equal,” Brock said. “Targeted trade enforcement as we’ve seen successfully deployed in the aluminum foil and, more recently, common alloy sheet, markets are the best way to make an impact. This approach allows us to effectively address issues in the marketplace while avoiding needless and disruptive tariffs on vital trading partners who play by the rules.”
The Section 232 tariffs on imported steel and aluminum — of 25% and 10%, respectively — remain in effect with respect to imports from Canada and Mexico. That fact remains a sticking point in the ongoing process to approve the pending United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the intended successor to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The USMCA was signed by President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto during the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires late last year. However, the agreement must be ratified by each country’s legislature before it can go into effect.
The probe will cover the October 2017-September 2018 period, but data from 2015 will also be looked at by India’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), which falls under the Commerce Ministry.
A report by the Press Trust of India said the investigation had been launched following a complaint by domestic producer JSW Steel Coated Products.
India, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, has one of the highest trade tariffs in the world; for decades, its highly protectionist trade policy received flak.
Some experts have argued there was a risk that this protectionism could backfire somewhere down the line.
In the latest anti-dumping probe, it must be remembered that aluminum and zinc-coated steel are used largely in solar power projects, roofing and appliances (to name a few). India is currently very bullish on solar power projects; naturally, local producers are worried these projects have started using cheaper products from foreign shores.
If the allegation is eventually found to be true, the DGTR will then recommend imposition of the anti-dumping duty on the imports. The investigation has been initiated because there was some prima facie evidence found of dumping by the three countries.
The probe into the alleged dumping will help determine the existence, degree and effect of alleged dumping, and to recommend the amount of anti-dumping duty, which if levied, would be adequate to remove the injury to the domestic industry, according to the DGTR.
The U.S. Department of Commerce. qingwa/Adobe Stock
This morning in metals news, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) made determinations in the anti-dumping and countervailing duty probes of large diameter welded pipe from Canada, Greece, South Korea and Turkey; Thyssenkrupp workers are looking for job guarantees in the case of a collapse of the German firm’s European joint venture with Tata Steel; and the Steel Authority of India Ltd. posted 8% crude steel production growth in fiscal year 2019.
The USITC made a number of determinations in the ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duty probes related to imports of large diameter welded pipe from Greece, Turkey, South Korea and Canada.
“As a result of the USITC’s affirmative determinations, Commerce will issue: antidumping duty orders on imports of LDW carbon and alloy steel line pipe from Canada, Greece, Korea, and Turkey; a countervailing duty order on imports of LDW carbon and alloy steel line pipe from Korea; antidumping duty orders on imports of LDW carbon and alloy steel structural pipe from Canada, Korea, and Turkey; and a countervailing duty order on imports of LDW carbon and alloy steel structural pipe from Korea and Turkey,” the USITC stated in a release.
Thyssenkrupp Workers Look for Job Guarantees
Workers for German steelmaker Thyssenkrupp are looking for job assurances in case the firm’s planned 50:50 joint venture with Tata Steel doesn’t work out, Reuters reported.
The companies agreed to merge their European operations last year, creating what would ultimately be Europe’s second-largest steelmaking entity (behind only ArcelorMittal). Approval of the joint venture, however, is still pending review from European competition authorities.
In October, the European Commission launched an investigation of the proposed joint venture, noting concerns that the merger might “reduce competition in the supply of various high-end steels.”
SAIL Crude Steel Production Jumps 8%
The state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) posted crude steel production growth of 8% in fiscal year 2019, The Economic Times reported.
This morning in metals news, an NFL franchise’s new stadium project in Las Vegas is facing delays in steel deliveries, Indonesia and China have taken anti-dumping action against each other’s steel products, and Ford earlier this week announced workers in southeast Michigan will make the automaker’s first autonomous vehicles in 2021.
Steel Deliveries Delayed at Raiders’ Las Vegas Stadium
The National Football League’s Oakland Raiders are scheduled to make the move to Las Vegas in 2020, when the franchise’s new stadium is scheduled to open.
However, completion of the stadium project — for which taxpayers are contributing $750 million — is expected to be pushed back due to recent delays in deliveries of steel components, the Associated Press reported.
According to the report, Indonesia opted to extend an existing 20% duty on flat-rolled steel products, which targeted imports from China and six other countries.
Ford Announces Battery Electric, Autonomous Vehicle Moves
Automakers around the world are preparing for an increasingly electrified and/or autonomous vehicle market.
In that vein, Ford Motor Co. recently announced moves related to those two next-generation vehicle segments.
Ford announced it is expanding its electric vehicle production to a second plant, its Flat Rock Assembly plant in southeast Michigan.
“We’ve taken a fresh look at the growth rates of electrified vehicles and know we need to protect additional production capacity given our accelerated plans for fully electric vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations, in a company release. “This is good news for the future of southeast Michigan, delivering more good-paying manufacturing jobs.”
In addition, Ford said it will begin production of the automaker’s first autonomous vehicles at a new production center in southeast Michigan.
“As we ramp up AV production, this plan allows us to adjust our investment spending to accommodate the pace of growth of this exciting new technology,” Hinrichs said in the prepared statement. “This new plan combines our core strength in mass manufacturing with the agility and leanness we’ve shown with our modification centers for specialty manufacturing.”
This morning in metals news, Chile’s Codelco announced its underground Chuquicamata mine will open later this year, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday and the U.S. Department of Commerce issued an affirmative preliminary determination in an anti-dumping investigation related to China.
Chilean state-owned miner Codelco announced the underground Chuquicamata copper mine will open for operations in the middle of the year, Reuters reported.
As the report notes, the miner last year announced plans to transform the mine site from an open cast setup to an underground mine, coming in at an investment of $5.55 billion.
Lighthizer at Ways and Means
As trade meetings between the U.S. and China continue, USTR Robert Ligthhizer offered testimony Wednesday before the House Ways and Means Committee.
“We are here to talk about China,” Lighthizer said during his opening remarks. “I agree with those who see our large and growing trade deficit and their unfair trade practices – including technology transfer issues, failure to protect intellectual property, large subsidies, cyber theft of commercial secrets and other problems – as major threats to our economy. We can compete with anyone in the world but we must have rules – enforced rules – that make sure market outcomes, not state-capitalism and technology theft, determine winners.”
Lighthizer continued, saying the negotiating teams had made progress but that there is still much work left to do.
“Let me close by saying that we have engaged in a very intense, extremely serious, and very specific negotiation with China on crucial structural issues for several months now,” he said. “We are making real progress. If we can complete this effort – and again I say ‘if’ – and can reach a satisfactory solution to the all-important outstanding issue of enforceability as well as some other concerns, we might be able to have an agreement that helps us turn the corner in our economic relationship with China.
“Let me be clear: much still needs to be done both before an agreement is reached and, more importantly, after it is reached, if one is reached.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce. qingwa/Adobe Stock
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced this week that it had launched anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations related to imports of fabricated structural steel from Canada, Mexico and China.
The investigation comes on the heels of a petition filed by the Chicago-based American Institute of Steel Construction Full Member Subgroup.
The total value of imports of fabricated structural steel from the three countries in 2017 is approximately $1.9 billion, according to the DOC. By country, the values are estimated at $658.3 million for Canada, $841.7 million for China and $406.6 million for Mexico.
By quantity, the U.S. imported 213,279 tons of fabricated structural steel from Canada during the January-October 2018 period, up 10.3% from 193,412 tons for the same period in 2017. Mexico’s imports for the period were also up in 2018, at 265,700 tons, up 43.1% from 185,700 tons for the same period in 2017.
Import levels from China actually dipped in 2018, hitting 419,948 tons during the January-October 2018 period, down 2.5% from 430,899 tons in the same period in 2017.
According to the DOC, the alleged dumping margins for the three countries are:
30.41% for Canada
222.35% for China
30.58% for Mexico
Meanwhile, on the countervailing duty side, the DOC said there are 44 alleged subsidy programs for Canada, including “tax programs, grant programs, loan programs, export insurance programs, and equity programs.” For China, that number is 26, which include “tax programs, grant programs, debt restructuring programs, export subsidy programs, as well as the provision of goods and services for less than adequate remuneration.” Lastly, 19 subsidy programs are alleged for Mexico, including “grant programs, tax programs, export programs, and loan programs.”
Next, the International Trade Commission will make a preliminary determination by March 21. If it rules in the affirmative — that is, that the imports are injurious to U.S. industry and its workforce — then the DOC will continue its investigations. The DOC would then be scheduled to make its preliminary determinations in the countervailing duty and anti-dumping investigations by May 1 and July 15, respectively.