NEW YORK The
U.S. Department of Commerce officially launched an
investigation to determine preliminary dumping margins against
rebar imports from Mexico and Turkey and countervailing duty
investigations against Turkey Sept. 25.
U.S. rebar producers
filed the long-anticipated trade complaint with Commerce and
the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) earlier this
amm.com, Sept. 4).
Meanwhile, in a
separate but related phase of the process, representatives for
Turkey and Mexico and domestic rebar producers presented their
arguments before the ITC, which will decide in October whether
Commerces investigation moves forward.
U.S. producers argued
that they are being injured by cheap imports from Turkey and
for us to continue to operate as a sustainable business without
getting some kind of relief from these subsidized products
(from Turkey and Mexico)," Jim Kerkvliet, vice president of
commercial sales for Tampa, Fla.-based Gerdau Long Steel North
America, told a panel of ITC staff at the conference. "As
subject imports continue to pound the market, Gerdaus
rebar operations have suffered. Weve been forced to
operate our facilities at far below capacity."
"The domestic steel
industry is currently being hammered by dumped and subsidized
imports from Turkey and Mexico," said James Darsey, executive
vice president of Nucor Corp., Charlotte, N.C. "These imports
have surged into the U.S. market, doubling from 2010 to 2012
and taking significant market share from the U.S. industry.
Mexican and Turkish rebar imports have continued to flow into
the U.S. market in 2013, inflicting more damage on Nucor and
other U.S. rebar producers."
Executives from rebar
mills Commercial Metals Co., Irving, Texas, and
Cincinnati-based Byer Steel Corp., as well as rebar
distributors and fabricators, made a similar case at the
ITCs headquarters in Washington.
The ITC is in the
preliminary phase of its investigation. If the ITC finds the
U.S. industry has been injured as the domestic mills argue,
Commerce will continue the investigation to determine Turkish
and Mexican dumping margins.
Counsel for Turkish
and Mexican producers, as well as several executives from
Mexicos Deacero SA de CV, said at the hearing that they
are not dumping rebar into the United States, pointing out that
the U.S. industry is largely unaffected by imports.
"U.S. producers are
heavily insulated from competition due to a confluence of
factors," said David Bond, counsel for Deacero. "U.S.
producers market share was about 90 percent on average
from 2010 to 2012. One must wonder, what market share will the
U.S. industry be satisfied with?"
U.S. mills are also
largely protected from imports because they sell much of their
rebar to their own downstream rebar fabrication businesses,
which serve as reliable business for the mills, foreign
They also said that
most Mexican and Turkish rebar shipments enter the United
States in 20-foot lengths, a market that is not coveted by U.S.
mills, and that much of the U.S. market is protected by Buy
America laws, which require contractors to use domestic steel
in certain publicly funded projects.
"The big three control
a significant portion of the fabrication market and ensure that
their mills have a steady, long-term book of orders," said
Deacero rebar product manager Miguel Bazan. "They naturally
prefer their own fabricators in terms of sourcing and
From 2010 to 2012, the
period under investigation, U.S. mills saw increased sales and
increased profits, foreign producers said.