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Battle lines drawn in rebar trade case

Keywords: Tags  Rebar, concrete reinforcing bar, rebar mills, John Ferriola, Nucor, scrap, Veysel Yayan, Turkish Steel Producers Association Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — The battle lines have been drawn as U.S. rebar producers and Turkish and Mexican exporters prepare to argue their cases before the International Trade Commission (ITC).

"Turkish and Mexican rebar producers are flooding the U.S. with dumped and subsidized product and it is critical that our laws against such illegal trade practices be enforced to prevent further harm to the U.S. industry and its workers," John Ferriola, president and chief executive officer of Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Corp., told AMM.

Nucor was one of five U.S. rebar producers that filed the dumping and subsidy complaint Sept. 4 (, Sept. 4).

Both sides will present their case at a Sept. 25 conference before the ITC. "We will take all necessary steps," Veysel Yayan, secretary-general of the Turkish Steel Producers Association, told AMM. "We will actively defend our producers on this matter."

U.S. rebar producers claim that low import prices and high volumes of rebar from Turkey and Mexico clearly show it is being dumped in the United States. Several domestic mill sources pointed specifically to Turkish rebar, much of which is produced using scrap imported from the United States.

"For somebody in Turkey to be buying scrap (from the United States) at whatever it is, converting it into rebar and sending it over with those numbers and freight and have a trader still make a profit? It just doesn’t make sense," a mill source said.

Turkey imported 6.4 million tonnes of ferrous scrap from the United States in 2012, according to U.S. Commerce Department data, and exported 622,903 tonnes of rebar to the United States in the same year, according to the domestic producers’ petition.

"Seventy-five percent of the cost of rebar is raw material, and scrap is cheapest in the U.S. because of the freight component," a U.S. industry source said. "Scrap consumed here and scrap at the port is approximately the same price. And that’s 75 percent of the cost. Scrap drives the bus."

AMM’s rebar import prices from Turkey were as low as $525 per ton earlier this year, although prices have since risen, while AMM’s domestic Midwest mill price for No. 5 Grade 60 rebar has hovered between $645 and $690 per ton.

"Someone explain to me how you make a commodity product—unless you have fairy dust—and produce it in another country and ship it all the way back over here and sell it at such unbelievably low prices," a second mill source said.

Turkish and Mexican producers deny dumping rebar.

"I can accept that our margins are under very big pressure due to global overcapacity. But if there is no positive margin, Turkish steel producers would not continue to produce," Yayan said. "Turkish steel producers don’t export if it’s not favorable."

One trader said that Mexican and Turkish producers aren’t dumping in the United States, although with import volumes in 2012 at 841,294 tonnes—double 2010 levels—he said foreign exporters have a difficult case to prove. "I don’t think they’re dumping. I honestly don’t think the domestics have much of a case," he said. "(But) I go by history. (The domestics) win most of the cases. It’s the volume that’s at issue."

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