Metal industry concerned about US pending anti-dumping duty investigation


The evolution of steel production is a key indicator of activity in the industrial sector.

JOHANNESBURG – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) said on Thursday that it was very worried by the recent announcement of the United States Department of Commerce’s final determinations in the anti-dumping duty investigations of imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from South Africa and Ukraine.  

This comes after an initial parallel investigations launched last year in October to determine if American producers have been harmed by carbon and alloy steel wire rod imports from Italy, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, by both the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

The US Commerce Department on Thursday said it sent President Donald Trump the results of its probe into whether steel imports threaten US national security, but declined to reveal any details of its recommendations.

The anti-dumping duty law provides US businesses and workers with a transparent, quasi-judicial, and internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the market distorting effects caused by the injurious dumping of imports into the United States, establishing an opportunity to compete on a level playing field. 

Dumping occurs when a foreign company sells an imported product in the United States at less than fair value.

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Michael Ade, SEIFA’s chief economist, said in a statement that the organisation was extremely concerned that the latest developments have the potential of further dampening production in the local steel industry, reducing steel exports to the US and stifling the steel industry of much needed foreign reserves.

“This is especially given that in 2016, imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod by the US from South Africa was valued at an estimated $7.1-million,” Ade said.

“In the South Africa investigations, the US Department of Commerce assigned a dumping rate of 142,26 percent for the collapsed entity composed of ArcelorMittal South Africa, Scaw Metals Group, and Consolidated Wire Industries, based on adverse facts available due to its failure to respond to Commerce’s request for information.

“Davsteel Division of Cape Gate, the other mandatory respondent, was found to have no shipments of subject merchandise during the period of investigation. All other producers/exporters in South Africa have been assigned a dumping rate of 135,46 percent.”

Upon publication of the final affirmative antidumping duty determinations, Commerce will instruct US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits equal to the applicable final weighted-average dumping rates.

The ITC is scheduled to make its final determination on or around February 22, 2018.

Ade said that if the ITC makes an affirmative final determination that imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from South Africa and/or Ukraine materially injure, or threaten material injury to, the domestic industry, the U.S Department of Commerce will issue antidumping duty orders.

But if the ITC makes negative determinations of injury, the investigations will be terminated.

Ade said SEIFSA will continue to monitor the situation closely, in light of the final determination by the ITC.

*Additional reporting by eNCA