NEW YORK Mexican steel producer Deacero SA de CV is seeking a suspension agreement with North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) partners to help resolve trade disputes with U.S. steel concrete reinforcing bar producers.
Five U.S. rebar producersByer Steel Corp., Cincinnati; Cascade Steel Rolling Mills Inc., McMinnville, Ore.; Commercial Metals Co., Irving, Texas; Gerdau Long Steel North America, Tampa, Fla.; and Nucor Corp., Charlotte, N.C.filed a trade complaint in September against imports of Mexican and Turkish rebar (amm.com, Sept. 4).
In a recent meeting, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Mexicos Economy Secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo, reaffirmed the commitment of the two countries to foster the regional supply chain and strengthen commercial ties in order to boost trade between the Nafta partners.
"Representatives of the Mexican steel sector were on board with the idea of reinforcing this issue between the two countries, expressing that trade disputes among Nafta partners should be resolved through agreement and negotiation rather than imposing duties and conducting endless annual reviews and court litigation," Deacero said in a statement. "Suspension agreements have worked for different sectors, and the Mexican steel industry is willing to engage in this type of agreement regarding the current rebar anti-dumping investigation.
"The main objective is to resolve this trade dispute and focus on imports from outside the Nafta region, which represent the real problem, especially considering Chinas and Europes steel overcapacity," it added.
"In practice, (suspension) agreements have proven ineffective in providing relief and are very rarely used," an industry source said. "Under the statute, they can be used only in extraordinary circumstances and only if in the interest of the U.S. industry."
A suspension agreement in the rebar anti-dumping case would ensure a fair source of supply in a market in which U.S. producers meet 90 percent of consumption, Deacero said.
Mexico has been consistent with its exports to the United States, shipping around 250,000 tons annually over the past five years, the company said. "The participation in the U.S. market has also remained at a steady level, having roughly a 4-percent market share that has been decreasing in the past couple of years. When this percentage is compared to the U.S. rebar industrys 90-percent market share, it seems irrational to state that exports from Mexico are causing or threatening to cause any injury to the domestic industry."
Deacero said Mexican rebar exports are expected to remain stable as demand in Mexico increases in response to the Mexican governments national infrastructure investment plan, which will expand construction of highways, bridges, railroads, ports and airports.