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Steel wire interests ask for more import data

Keywords: Tags  Commerce Department, steel imports, American Wire Producers Association, import duties, Steel Manufacturers Association, Thomas Danjczek, Nucor, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — U.S. steel wire producers have asked the Commerce Department to include more products—steel wire strand, rope and cable, welded steel wire grill, netting and fencing, steel springs and steel wire garment hangers—in the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system.

"We respectfully urge the department to extend coverage of this invaluable program," the American Wire Producers Association (AWPA) said in a letter to Commerce. "Orders on unfairly traded or subsidized steel wire products (underscore) the importance of obtaining timely and accurate information about current and future importations."

Commerce announced in November that it would review comments on extending the SIMA system. The system will be in place until March 21, but Commerce has proposed extending it until at least 2017.

The AWPA said that import data on unfairly traded products can help U.S. industries uncover duty evasions. Several products—including steel wire nails from China and the United Arab Emirates, threaded steel rod from China and steel grating from China—have been hit with countervailing or anti-dumping duties by the U.S. International Trade Commission but are not monitored by SIMA.

The AWPA argued that advance notice of more imported steel products would help U.S. Customs and Border Protection enforce duties on imports that might otherwise circumvent duty payments.

Several other industry leaders expressed support for the current system, lauding it for supplying monthly import data on dozens of steel products.

"The SIMA (system) provides transparency for all interested parties, including the industry, government, importers and steel consumers," said a joint letter from eight organizations, including the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) and the United Steelworkers union. "It is especially critical in this period of a slowdown in global economic activity."

Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker Nucor Corp. said in a letter to Commerce that it uses the SIMA system extensively for business planning and as an early warning system for import surges.

The SIMA system "can cause domestic producers to look at their own strategy risk," SMA president Thomas Danjczek told AMM. "It makes them look at their own revenue strategy."

Danjczek added, however, that while the SIMA system could help curb unfair trade practices, it is not a cure-all. "This could almost be viewed as an engine warning light," he said. "It gives you a little bit of an early warning but doesn’t have teeth with it to stop it. It’s only information. But information can be helpful."

The AWPA could not be reached for comment.

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