The U.S. Department of Commerce said corrosion-resistant steel products from China were produced at unfairly low prices and called for a 256 percent tariff on them in a preliminary report Tuesday. The report also recommended taxes for steel imports from India, South Korea and Italy, but at markedly lower rates.
The findings were part of an investigation by the department into steel imports by China after six American steelmakers, including U.S. Steel and Nucor, filed three trade complaints against imports of hot-rolled, cold-rolled and corrosion-resistant steel earlier this year. Prices of hot-rolled steel coil -- an industry benchmark -- plunged about 40 percent this year and U.S. mills have idled as much as 38 percent of their capacity due to rising imports, Bloomberg reported.
Findings in Tuesday’s preliminary report showed that producers and exporters in China received a margin of 255.8 percent on Chinese steel products sold in the U.S. The department also found dumping margins of 3.25 percent for most South Korean steel imports, while Indian steel imports received dumping margins of 6.76 percent.
Tuesday’s tariffs, combined with countervailing duties as high as 236 percent announced on Nov. 3, create a barrier to imports of these steel products from China, said Caitlin Webber, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Washington.
America’s call for higher tariffs followed a week after Mexico's economic ministry launched an anti-dumping investigation on imports of Chinese steel products. According to local reports, the inquiry was requested by Mexican steel company Ternium International in September.
In November, nine U.S., South American and European steel manufacturing industry bodies alleged that China -- which produces 49 percent of the world’s crude steel -- was the predominant cause for the current supply glut.
“The global steel industry is currently suffering from a crisis of overcapacity and the Chinese steel industry is the predominant global contributor to this problem” the associations had said in a joint statement.