NEW YORK U.S. producers of steel concrete reinforcing bar filed a long-anticipated trade complaint Sept. 4 against imports of Turkish and Mexican rebar.
"The Turkish and Mexican industries are using unfair pricing practices to capture market share from the U.S. industry," Alan H. Price, counsel for the domestic producers, said in a statement released by the Rebar Trade Action Coalition. "The U.S. industry and its workers have been injured by the growing volume of dumped and subsidized rebar imports."
The five petitioners in the case filed with the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission (ITC) are Nucor Corp., Gerdau Ameristeel U.S. Inc., Commercial Metals Co., Cascade Steel Rolling Mills Inc. and Byer Steel Corp.
U.S. rebar mills have discussed filing a trade case on rebar imports for many months and talk escalated late last week about the possible filing (amm.com, Sept. 3).
The trade complaint cited a dramatic increase in import volumes. Rebar shipments from Turkey and Mexico totaled 841,294 tonnes last year, up 68.4 percent from 499,556 tonnes in 2011 and nearly double the 425,813 tonnes imported in 2010, according to the trade action coalition, while the value of the imports increased from $232.1 million in 2010 to $345.8 million in 2011 and $565.3 million in 2012.
Rebar imports from Turkey and Mexico accounted for a 17-percent share of the U.S. market in the first half of this year vs. 7 percent in 2010.
"The domestics have a good chance of winning because the huge increase in Turkish numbers is overwhelming," said a trader that imports rebar into the United States. "They have increased dramatically in the past three years."
Domestic producers, which must demonstrate that Turkish and Mexican rebar imports are injuring the U.S. industry and that the imports are being sold at less-than-normal value, said in the petition to Commerce and the ITC that the imports have pulled down market prices.
"The presence in the United States of a substantially increasing volume of unfairly traded imports of rebar from Mexico and Turkey has depressed and suppressed prices for domestic producers of rebar," according to the petition. "Subject imports have surged into the U.S. market, taken market share and have undermined U.S. producers operations and financial performance."
The domestic producers allege that Turkish and Mexican producers are dumping their product in the United States at margins ranging from 42.09 to 66.76 percent.
The filing could have an immediate impact on shipments to the United States, sources said. The trader said he believed import volumes could ease in the coming months as exporters faced with possible retroactive duties scale back shipments to the United States.
"If you want to risk it you can still squeeze in a shipment now," the trader said, "but I think people will gradually withdraw from the market."
The Commerce Department and the ITC are expected to initiate anti-dumping investigations into rebar from Turkey and Mexico and a subsidy investigation into Turkish shipments within three weeks. The ITC is expected to make a preliminary injury determination in October, while the Commerce Department should make a preliminary anti-dumping and countervailing duty determination within six months.