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US producers file electrical steel trade case

Keywords: Tags  steel duties, electrical steel, AK Steel, James Wainscott, ATI, Richard Harshman, WTO, grain-oriented electrical steel Rey Mashayekhi

NEW YORK — AK Steel Corp., Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) and the United Steelworkers union have filed a trade petition against imports of grain-oriented electrical steel from Japan, South Korea, China and four other countries, alleging that the low-priced material has suppressed margins and deteriorated domestic prices.

The petition concerns the alleged dumping of imports from Japan, South Korea, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Russia, and subsidies on imports from China, the parties said in a petition filed with both the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Commerce Department Sept. 18.

Alleged dumping margins are 168.47 percent for Chinese producers, 57.55 to 217.23 percent for Czech producers, 49.51 to 188.59 percent for German producers, 38.26 to 171.25 percent for Japanese producers, 47.81 to 94.85 percent for Polish producers, 18.54 to 81.78 percent for Russian producers and 40.45 to 210.13 percent for South Korean producers.

As the only U.S. producers of the product, petitioners West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel and Pittsburgh-based ATI accounted for all domestic production in 2012.

The filing is in response to "large and increasing volumes" of "low-priced imports" from the subject countries in the past three years, the petitioners said, adding that imports from the seven countries accounted for 85 percent of all U.S. imports of grain-oriented electrical steel by value in 2012.

"Our extensive investigations confirmed our belief that widespread dumping is being practiced by producers from seven countries. This violates U.S. laws and (World Trade Organization) rules," ATI chairman, president and chief executive officer Richard J. Harshman said. "We respectfully urge the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission to grant speedy and effective relief to remedy the injury to our business and to support the jobs of our employees."

Cumulative subject imports increased to 31,191 tons in 2012 from 29,856 tons in 2010, according to the petition. They continue to increase in the interim, to 15,095 tons in the first half of 2013 from 14,110 tons in the same year-ago period.

While volumes increased, prices also fell. Average unit values for the cumulative imports fell nearly 14 percent to $2,682 per ton in 2012 from $3,118 per short ton in 2010. Another 9.9 percent decline was seen in the first half of this year, to $2,479 per ton, vs. the same 2012 period.

"The substantial anti-dumping margins found in our investigations reflect the determination of those companies to capture market share in the United States by using tactics not permitted under U.S. and international rules," AK chairman, president, and chief executive officer James L. Wainscott said in a statement.

Trade action against subject imports is certainly not new. In 1984, the ITC initiated a section 201 investigation on imports of certain carbon and alloy steel products that included grain-oriented electrical steel. As a result, the product was put under a volunteer restraint agreement that expired in 1992. In a later 2001 section 201 case, the investigation resulted in a negative determination.

In 1993, the U.S. industry filed a similar petition against the product from Italy and Japan, but after several years of court remands, duties were revoked completely in 2006 (, May 10, 2006).

Conflict over grain-oriented electrical steel has also been made known on the international front, particularly as the United States and Chinese government have been in consultations at the WTO since 2010 concerning the Asian nation’s imposition of duties against U.S. exports of the material (, Aug. 1).

Commerce will determine if it will initiate the anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations within 20 days, and the ITC will reach a preliminary determination of material injury or threat of material injury within 45 days.

Rey Mashayekhi, New York, contributed to this story.

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