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Clad steel mills clash on Japan export role

Keywords: Tags  ArcelorMittal, Dynamic Materials, JFE, Nippon, JSW, clad steel plate, dumping, ITC Catherine Ngai

NEW YORK — Domestic and foreign clad steel plate makers are preparing to go head to head over Japanese exports during an anti-dumping duty order hearing Thursday in Washington.

The five-year sunset review of imports of clad steel plate from Japan will be the third review at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) since duties of 118.53 percent were imposed on the Asian nation’s producers some 16 years ago (, Feb. 20, 2007).

Domestic petitioners ArcelorMittal USA LLC and Dynamic Materials Corp. have argued that revocation of the duty order likely will lead to material injury to the domestic industry in light of Japan’s overcapacity issues. Clad steel plate overcapacity in Japan reached nearly 66,000 tons in 2011, more than double the 30,000 tons in 2006, they said.

"This huge increase in excess capacity was largely a function of declining global demand over the period of review. Given that both the U.S. and Japanese industries are experiencing these trends and both are significant exporters participating in other markets around the world, their experience is very likely representative of the experience of the world market," the petitioners said in pre-hearing briefs.

The Japanese industry also has the ability to shift shipments from the home market to third-country markets, as demand for clad plate has declined in Japan, the petitioners said, noting that Japanese steelmakers have U.S. sales offices from which they can sell clad plate if the duty order is revoked.

However, Japanese producers JFE Steel Corp., Japan Steel Works Ltd. (JSW) and Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corp. said the clad plate market has changed considerably since duties were implemented in 1996.

"The forces that have led to the Asian concentration of Japan’s clad steel plate shipments are entirely independent of the anti-dumping duty order and will not change if the order were revoked," the Japanese producers said in pre-hearing briefs.

They said that Japanese steelmakers, as well as other foreign producers, are focusing their clad plate exports on Asia, so revocation of the order would not affect the U.S. market.

They noted that in 2011 the United States shipped 66 percent of its total steel clad exports to Asia; European markets exported 75 percent of their production to Asia; and Japan shipped all of its steel clad product exports to Asia. "The Asia market is expected to continue to expand further," they said.

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