Russian trade pact under fire, future uncertain

Jul 11, 2014 | 03:55 PM | Nat Rudarakanchana

Tags  steel, hot-rolled steel, steel sheet, Russia, Russian suspension agreement, Nucor, ArcelorMittal USA, imports Nat Commerce Department

NEW YORK — Domestic flat-rolled steelmakers are challenging a 15-year-old suspension agreement involving anti-dumping duties on hot-rolled flat steel products from Russia due to what the U.S. mills claim is "rampant underselling" by Russian producers.

The petition from six U.S. companies, which represent the bulk of domestic hot-rolled steel output, urges the Commerce Department to end an 1999 arrangement, which suspended its anti-dumping investigation into hot-rolled sheet, strip and plate-in-coil from Russia in return for restrictions on prices and export volumes.

"We are currently reviewing the request," a Commerce official told AMM.

Russian reference prices since the first quarter of 2004 have averaged nearly $256-per-tonne below U.S. market prices, according to the filing. That allows Russian producers to sell at volumes that injure U.S. steelmakers, an advantage evidenced in the surge of Russian imports in 2014 to more than 350,000 tonnes year to date, U.S. steelmakers said.....

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