NEW YORK Domestic
producers of concrete reinforcing bar (rebar) will seek to hold
imports at bay during the International Trade Commissions
(ITCs) April 25 review of import duties against China,
Indonesia and five Eastern European countries.
The ITC will conduct its second
five-year sunset review to determine whether duties on imports
of rebar from China, Indonesia, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine,
Latvia and Belaruswhich have been in place since
2001should remain in place, be amended or revoked
The duties are a strong-enough
deterrent that the only two major exporters of rebar to the
United States are currently Turkey and Mexico, but domestic
producers fear a flood of imported rebar should any of the
duties be lifted.
According to the domestic
companies prehearing brief to the ITC, the economic
downturn since the duties were enforced has made the rebar
industry more susceptible to import disruption, particularly
from countries with large rebar capacity that are looking for
export markets, such as China.
"In light of Chinas
massive overcapacity, revocation of the orders likely would
have catastrophic consequences for the U.S. industry,"
according to the domestic companies, which include Nucor Corp.,
Gerdau Long Steel North America and others. "The domestic
industry is more vulnerable to even modest volumes of subject
imports, and subject producers are even more desperate to
export their massive and growing rebar capacity and
Others say, however, that the
rebar industry has been significantly restructured in recent
years, and is now more impervious to the effects of imports
than it was when the duties were introduced.
"(The domestic rebar industry)
is a highly concentrated industry in a few hands. When
its concentrated and you have a limited number of mills,
the concentration of production means the domestic industry has
a very strong hand in the market," Don Cameron, a lawyer for
Latvian steel producer JSC Liepajas Metalurgs, which is
challenging the duties, told AMM.
Current duties on imported rebar
stand at margins of 133 percent for material from China, 114.53
percent on rebar from Belarus, 71.01 percent on most rebar from
Indonesia, 16.99 on Latvian rebar, 232.86 percent on Moldovan
product, 47.13 percent on most Polish exporters and 41.69
percent on Ukrainian rebar.
The domestic companies seeking
to hold on to the domestic anti-dumping duty orders include
Nucor, Gerdau, Cascade Steel Rolling Mills Inc., Commercial
Metals Co. and Byer Steel Corp.
"The U.S. rebar market is still
operating at 60-percent capacity, and we are now a relatively
low-cost producer, so the import penetration to an industry
operating at 60-percent capacity doesnt make sense," Tom
Danjczek, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association,
Importers disagreed about the
state of the U.S. industry, arguing that it is unlikely to fall
victim to imports.
"The U.S. rebar industry is
clearly in the midst of a strong recovery that is significantly
outpacing the overall economy," Latvian representatives said in
the countrys prehearing brief. "This is not a vulnerable