China plate shipments leave US mills on alert

Sep 22, 2011 | 05:00 PM | Anne Riley

Tags  plate, steel plate, China, circumvention, anti-dumping duties, boron, vanadium, Anne Riley

NEW YORK — Chinese steel plate producers no longer permitted to add metallurgically insignificant amounts of boron to the melt to avoid U.S. anti-dumping duties are now said to be adding trace amounts of vanadium instead, sounding the alarm among domestic steelmakers and inciting at least one Washington trade attorney to consider taking legal action.

"It’s what I call the fairy-dust scheme: Sprinkle something on it and try to call it something else," one market source told AMM.

At least one Chinese plate producer is said to be adding trace amounts of vanadium to its cut-to-length carbon steel plate before offering it to consumers in the U.S. marketplace. By doing so, the material can be classified as a A572-Type 2 alloy and therefore avoids the 128.59-percent China-wide anti-dumping order on non-alloy carbon plate.

A mill test report from Hebei Iron & Steel Group Wuyang Iron & Steel Liability Ltd. Co. (Wuyang) obtained by AMM confirms that steel plate with a 0.11-percent vanadium content is being offered in the U.S. market, and—with 0.01 percent more vanadium than the minimum A572-Type 2 requirement—would fall outside the scope of the existing anti-dumping duty order and therefore be exempt from duties at the border.

Wuyang and U.S. attorneys for the company did not respond to requests for comment.

A572-Type 2 is a registered alloy, so the duty-free import of that material from China is not, at face value, a violation of law, AMM understands. ....

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