CHICAGO Nucor Corp. is more optimistic about the prospects for higher margins against rebar from Turkey following a positive ruling involving South Korean oil country tubular goods (OCTG), the companys top executive said.
"Were working with the Commerce Department to better understand the facts of the (Turkish) case. ... And given that, we feel confident that weve got a good shot at a final order thats more favorable than the preliminary," Nucor Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer John J. Ferriola said during an earnings conference call with analysts July 24.
The steelmaker said it was pleased with a preliminary determination that saw anti-dumping duties assessed on Mexican rebar producers but was disappointed with preliminary findings on rebar from Turkey (amm.com, April 21).
A final decision is expected in September, Ferriola noted.
The assessment of margins vs. South Korean OCTG was a reversal of a preliminary ruling that had disappointed domestic producers and their suppliers (amm.com, July 11).
The case has impacted the way Nucor will approach trade cases going forward, Ferriola said, noting that the company might also be looking to point government officials toward specific trade cases and to instances of "repeat offenders" and of "product substitution."
Trends such as product substitution by countries repeatedly accused of dumping steel into the United States suggest that there are "basic flaws" in how U.S. trade laws are applied.
"You win on structural beams, they go to rebar. You win on rebar, they go to merchant bar. ... There is a pattern thats being developed and were helping the ITC (International Trade Commission) and the Commerce Department understand that," Ferriola said.
"As I spend time in Washington, Im getting a little more optimistic that our government is finally getting to understand the importance of these trade cases," he said, noting that Nucor is working more closely with Commerce and the ITC to better understand data from domestic steelmakers and from nations targeted by trade petitions. "Obviously (in the OCTG case against South Korea), we were able to convince them that the way the data was being presented was very misleading. ... Helping them walk through that process resulted in a more positive outcome for us and the industry."
The company also might have potential trade cases in its crosshairs.
"We are gathering information. Im not going to give anything more specific about what trade cases might be coming down the pike. But I dont think you have to use too much of your imagination to figure out what it is," Ferriola said.
Ferriola declined to name which countries or products the Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker might be targeting.
The comments echoed those of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Steel Dynamics Inc., which this past week said it had its sights on material from China and India, and in particular light-gauge cold-rolled, Galvalume and other coated and painted products (amm.com, July 22).