NEW YORK The battle for
U.S. market share is heating up as anti-dumping and
countervailing duties on corrosion-resistant steel from Germany
and South Korea come up for review in Washington.
Domestic steelmakers will vie to
maintain duties on their foreign competitors, while overseas
mills and their advocates will urge the repeal of the measures
when the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) holds a
hearing on the issue Jan. 9.
Since 1993, corrosion-resistant
steel plated with zinc-, aluminum-, nickel- or iron-based
alloys from Germany has been subject to anti-dumping duties of
10.02 percent, while most South Korean corrosion-resistant
steel has had anti-dumping duties of 17.7 percent and
countervailing duties of 1.15 percent. The anti-dumping duty
order on Posco Ltd. was revoked in 2010, while both Posco and
Dongbu Steel Co. Ltd. received no countervailing duty orders
during the original case or subsequent sunset reviews. Union
Steel Manufacturing Co. Ltd. was also excluded from the
original countervailing duty order.
The sunset review scheduled for
January will be the third since 2000.
Domestic steelmakers represented
at the reviewincluding U.S. Steel Corp., Nucor Corp.,
ArcelorMittal USA LLC, Steel Dynamics Inc. and AK Steel
Corp.will argue to keep the margins in place to protect
against allegedly unfair trade practices, sources familiar with
the case said.
"The use of our trade laws is
our finger in the dike," Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA)
president Thomas Danjczek told AMM. "(Trade) has to be
rule-based. It cant be a free-for-all where youre
selling below costs or youre subsidizing to a point where
its against the rules."
In the preliminary results of
the third five-year sunset reviews release in July, the
Commerce Departments International Trade Administration
issued preliminary anti-dumping margins of at least 9.35
percent on Thyssen Stahl AG and all other German producers and
exporters of corrosion-resistant steel, while South Korean
producers and exporters, excluding Posco, were issued
preliminary margins of at least 12.85 percent. In May, the
Commerce Department also preliminarily issued countervailing
duties of 1.26 percent on most South Korean material and of
0.57 percent and 0.75 percent for Posco and Dongbu,
"I think the facts are on our
side," Danjczek said.
But others say the U.S. auto
industry would benefit from cheaper steel if the dumping duties
were revoked. For example, Ford Motor Co., which is
participating in the review, is calling for the revocation of
import duties in order to promote competition in the steel
industry and reduce purchasing prices, according to its
"The Koreans and Germans are
still very export-oriented and the United States remains a very
attractive market," a source familiar with the case told
AMM. "And without the influence of duties, we think
they would target the auto market."
Ford claimed in its prehearing
brief that though it seeks the revocation of duties on South
Korea and Germany, it intends to continue purchasing nearly all
of its steel from North American producers as it has "a strong
preference for North American sourcing."
"The thing that is important
here is that corrosion-resistant steel is going to the
automotive sectorwhich is a very healthy sector of our
economy," David Phelps, president of the American Institute for
International Steel, told AMM.
Under current trade laws,
consumers who might be impacted by the outcome of the case are
not given interested party statuswhich would give them
access to court documents before the hearingbut they are
allowed to testify.
Phelps said that consumers
should be given more influence over decisions affecting their
"The auto companies have no
standing even though theyre the ones that pay the dumping
duties," Phelps said. "That the company paying the tax has no
say in whether there is a tax or how much the tax is is
The hearing scheduled for
January was postponed more than two months after its original
Nov. 1 date was pushed back due to the "severity and duration"
of Hurricane Sandy, according to a notice from the court. The
ITC will vote on the issue on Feb. 15.
Attorneys representing Steel
Dynamics, AK Steel, ArcelorMittal and ThyssenKrupp Steel USA
declined to comment, while counsel for Nucor, U.S. Steel, Ford,
Posco, Posco America, Dongbu, Union and Hyundai did not respond
to calls for comment.