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CIT dismisses US appeal on Mexican stainless product

Keywords: Tags  stainless, ThyssenKrupp, CIT, Mexinox, stainless sheet and strip, anti-dumping, Catherine Ngai


NEW YORK — The U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) has dismissed a challenge by a number of U.S. producers on the removal of anti-dumping duties on stainless steel sheet and strip from Mexico.

The appeal dates back to 2011, when AK Steel Corp., ATI Allegheny Ludlum Corp. and North American Stainless Inc. (NAS) challenged a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling that effectively removed anti-dumping duties on the shipments from Mexico (amm.com, Sept. 2, 2011).

ThyssenKrupp AG’s expansion into the United States played a key role in the ITC’s decision to lift the duties. The commission cited testimony from a ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA LLC executive who said the company had the authority to veto imports from its Mexican affiliate, Mexinox SA de CV, that could harm the Alabama plant’s sales (amm.com, Aug. 17, 2011).

The domestic industry claimed that the ITC’s cumulation, volume and price effects determinations, as well as its decision to rely on ThyssenKrupp’s local supply strategy, were unsupported by substantial evidence.

The U.S. producers said ThyssenKrupp’s intention to sell a majority stake in its stainless steel business is a cause for concern because there is "no reason to anticipate that the TK strategies and plans would be followed by the new owner, who would have operational control."

Earlier this month, the European Commission approved the proposed $3.46-billion merger of Outokumpu Oyj and Inoxum Group, ThyssenKrupp’s stainless division (amm.com, Nov. 7).

The CIT disagreed with the U.S. producers, saying that any future owners of the company likely would pursue the existing local supply strategy.

David Hartquist, an attorney at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP and counsel for AK Steel, ATI and NAS, said he was "disappointed" in the decision and was unsure if the case would be brought to a higher court. "We were disappointed in the way the decision was reasoned ... (in respect) to what’s going to happen and what impact a change of ownership potentially may have in the way they handle their operations," he told AMM.

The court also dismissed the domestic industry’s claim that Mexico has significant amounts of "excess production capacity" and would shift production of cut-to-length plate to stainless steel sheet and strip, noting that cut-to-length plate is value-added so there is little incentive to do so.

The domestic industry’s arguments "are insufficient to unsettle the commission’s reasonable likely volume determination, as they are merely an invitation for this court to reweigh record evidence in its favor," CIT Senior Judge Nicholas Tsoucalas said in his opinion.

Counsel for the foreign producers could not be reached.


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