NEW YORK An agreement suspending U.S. anti-dumping duties on some Russian flat-rolled steel shipments could be "in more significant jeopardy" after Russia announced agricultural sanctions targeting the United States and the European Union, according to the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS).
Sanctions unveiled Aug. 6 by Russian President Vladimir Putin put mounting pressure on the United States to retaliate, potentially further jeopardizing the longstanding agreement without due examination of relevant facts and commercial circumstances, the trade group said.
U.S. steel mills filed a petition in mid-July asking the Commerce Department to terminate the agreement (amm.com, July 11).
The AIIS cautioned the Commerce Department against terminating the suspension agreement on the basis of "geopolitical considerations." The group said the agreement, which restricts imports and pricing of Russian products, is "working as intended."
Even though Russian steel exporters are "absolutely" abiding with the terms of the agreement, the deal could be ended abruptly at any time, one steel trader told AMM. "In normal circumstances (the U.S. government) wouldnt touch it, but because of the political situation I wouldnt be surprised if they terminate this agreement," he said.
Some U.S. traders have avoided Russian steel imports recently due to the political uncertainty, fearing trade war escalation and the sudden imposition of anti-dumping duties, the trader added.
The government should consult those "who might be adversely affected" by terminating the trade pact, Falls Church, Va.-based AIIS said. "Trade wars produce no winners," it added.