NEW YORK Turkish rebar exporters have taken a proactive approach to countering accusations that they have been dumping product in the United States, hoping to halt talk of a possible trade case before it becomes a reality.
Members of the Turkish Steel Exporters Association toured the United States in late June to present their case to a variety of groupsincluding the U.S. Commerce Department, the Port of Houston Authority and the American-Turkish Friendship Council, as well as several congressmenthat Turkish steelmakers are not receiving subsidies or dumping steel in the United States at below cost, members of the delegation told AMM.
"The basic issue is that we are not doing dumping. Thats for sure. And our competitors are well aware that (we) are not doing this," Veysel Yayan, secretary-general of the Turkish Iron and Steel Producers Association, told AMM July 9. "If (U.S. mills) apply for dumping (duties), this is not a good-faith approach."
The groups U.S. tour came at a time when speculation of a possible trade case against Turkish rebar was mounting. Domestic rebar mills reportedly have been discussing the possibility of filing a trade case against Turkey for some time, with advocates of trade action arguing that Turkish producers are selling rebar into the United States at below their cost of production and in increasingly large volumes (amm.com, May 2). Although a trade case hasnt been filed yet, industry leadersincluding top executives at Nucor Corp.have suggested that the domestic industry may be close to taking action.
"Unfortunately, we in the United States are the worlds dumping ground, including Turkeys, for rebar and other products," Daniel DiMicco, executive chairman of Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor, said in a keynote address at AMMs Steel Success Strategies XXVIII conference in New York last month (amm.com, June 19).
DiMicco told conference attendees that Turkish mills produce 35 million tonnes of steel annually and export 20 million tonnes. "Thats ridiculous," he said at the time. "That is basically flaunting and making a laughing stock out of the concept of market-driven economies and free trade."
Namik Ekinci, chairman of the Turkish Steel Exporters Association, confirmed DiMiccos numbers, but noted that Turkey also imports 13 million tonnes of steel, helping to balance out its trade surplus. In addition, Turkish long products output is around 24 million tonnes annually, but Turkey exports only about 9 million tonnes, he said.
"We always choose to proceed within the world trade rules," Ekinci said.
Turkish rebar shipments to the United States surpassed 101,000 tonnes in May, more than double shipments in the same month last year, according to Commerce Department data.
Domestic players have said such volumes indicate the Turks are dumping material in the United States, with some arguing that Turkish rebar prices are lower than their cost of production.
"The math just doesnt work out," one domestic mill source said.
Nucor in particular has been vocal about the need to enforce fair trade laws against Turkey. "The data certainly supports moving forward on something like this," president and chief executive officer John Ferriola said of a potential trade case against Turkey in an interview with AMM. "We look at all this data; we work with a great law firm in Washington that helps us with all of this and lets just say it this waythey are on our radar screen. Turkey is on our radar screen."
Ferriola declined to comment on the timeline for a potential trade case, but some sources have suggested that a filing could be imminent.
But Yayan maintains such action is unnecessary since the country has boosted its steel consumption and lowered its production, all while importing "even for items that we are the biggest exporters for."
"The U.S. is the father of free trade," Yayan added. "(The Turkish mills) dont have any state aid. We should keep free and fair trade conditions."