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United Steelworkers Union Flags U.S. Prelim Duties On Steel Imports, Cold-Rolled Steel From Brazil, China, India & Russia Cited

Published Sunday, December 27, 2015

(PITTSBURGH) – The United Steelworkers (USW) have responded to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (USDOC) announcement earlier this month of preliminary determinations in the Countervailing Duty (CVD) investigations of imports for certain Cold-Rolled Steel Flat Product Imports from Brazil, China, India and Russia.

“Our government’s investigation of Cold Rolled Steel Imports is a ‘small step’ toward the ‘immediate action’ America’s Steel Industry ‘needs against’ the ‘continued job stealing’ by illegal subsidization by foreign governments and the resulting steel ‘flooding into our markets,’” USW President Leo Gerard declared. “State-owned steel companies in China have ‘grossly expanded’ steel production capacity to ‘stratospheric, uncontrolled levels’ that are ‘wrecking’ American Steelworkers’ jobs and the communities where they live.  We now have ‘thousands of layoffs’ at the iron ore mines in Minnesota - plus Steel Mills in Granite City, Illinois, Birmingham, Alabama and Northern Indiana as families enter the year-end holiday season.”

The USW president flagged the Commerce Department’s Determination Order that among the countries investigated, an extraordinarily high subsidy duty rate of 227% was being placed on all cold-rolled products exported by Chinese companies.

According to the order, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be instructed to require cash deposits based on the duty rates for steel imports from China and three other countries: Brazil (7.42%), India (4.45%) and Russia (6.33% – with the exception of the Severstal Companies).  A negative determination was found for steel from South Korea.

USW Vice President Tom Conway, who’s currently leading negotiations with several domestic steel companies under extension agreements, said: “Tens of thousands of American Steelworkers should know their jobs and the industry will get ‘some protection’ from this Preliminary Duty Order from our government to ‘level the playing field’ for steel sold in our market.  We ‘especially appreciate’ the Commerce Department’s naming several ‘mandatory’ foreign respondent companies in China as ‘big violators’ of our trade laws.”

Among those Conway referred to were Angang Group Hong Kong Co., Limited, Benxi Iron and Steel (Group) Special Steel Co., Limited and Qian’an Golden Point Trading Co., Limited.

Conway said the duty rates on the Chinese companies followed a U.S. determination that the government of the People’s Republic of China did not fully cooperate in the investigation by failing to respond to requests for information on their export tonnage.

Conway explained the USDOC found critical circumstance for the named Chinese company violators, requiring U.S. Customs to impose provisional measures retroactively on steel flat products for up to 90 days prior to the effective date of the federal order. 

The petitions in the U.S. Trade Case were filed in July by AK Steel Corporation, ArcelorMittal USA, Nucor Corporation, Steel Dynamics Incorporated and the United States Steel Corporation.

Final Determination Orders are due next May by the USDOC and the U.S. International Trade Commission.  The investigations are for certain cold-rolled, flat steel products, whether or not annealed, painted, varnished, or coated and include coils of 12.7 mm or greater.

The total value of cold-rolled steel imports from the five investigated countries in 2014 was $896.8 million.

The USW represents 850,000 Workers across North America who are employed in many industries – including Metals, Rubber, Chemicals, Paper, Oil Refining and the Service and Public Sectors. 

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