Thursday, May 26, 2016
China is getting hit with eye-watering new tariffs on steel to stop it flooding the market
WASHINGTON (Reuters) and LONDON - Corrosion-resistant steel from China will face final US anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties of up to 450% under the US Commerce Department's latest clampdown on a glut of steel imports, the agency said on Wednesday.
The EU is also threatening to levy similar tariffs on Chinese steel, ahead of the G7 summit in Japan this week.
The Financial Times reports that European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said in a speech: "If somebody distorts the market, Europe cannot be defenseless."
China has come under increasing fire from industrialized countries worldwide that have accused it of dumping steel at prices far below production costs to avoid cutting excess capacity in the sector, which faces slowing demand at home.
Beijing has insisted that it would eliminate 100 million to 150 million tons of annual capacity and said last week it would persist with a steel tax rebate plan to support the sector's restructuring.
The escalating steel trade fight has grown into a major irritant as senior US and Chinese officials prepare for bilateral economic and foreign policy meetings in Beijing in early June.
It also comes at a difficult time for the UK, which is trying to position itself as a favoured trading partner to China but is facing a crisis in its steel industry. Indian conglomerate Tata announced earlier this year that it was putting its UK steel business up for sale and would shut it down if a buyer could not be found. The business was reportedly losing £1 million a day.
The US Commerce Department on Wednesday also issued anti-dumping duties of 3% to 92% on producers of corrosion-resistant steel in Italy, India, South Korea and Taiwan, it said in a statement.
The department hit producers of the flat-rolled steel, which is coated or plated with zinc, aluminum or other metals to extend its service life, with anti-subsidy duties in China, South Korea, Italy and India. Taiwan was exempted.
The final US anti-dumping duties on the Chinese products replace preliminary ones of 256% issued in December 2015.
China's Commerce Ministry said it was extremely dissatisfied at what it called the "irrational" move by the United States, which it said would harm cooperation between the two countries.
"China will take all necessary steps to strive for fair treatment and to protect the companies' rights," it said, without elaborating.
Last week the US Commerce Department slapped punitive tariffs of more than 500% on Chinese cold-rolled flat steel, which is widely used for car body panels and appliances.
The Commerce Department issued anti-dumping duties of 210% on all Chinese-produced corrosion resistant steel. Final anti-subsidy duties ranged from 39% for many producers to 241% for some of the largest ones including Baosteel, Hebei Iron & Steel Group and Angang Group.
Anti-dumping duties for Indian producers were far lower at 3% to 4.4%, while their anti-subsidy duties ranged from 8% to 29.5% for JSW Steel.
In 2015, US imports of corrosion-resistant steel products from the five countries totaled $1.87 billion, the Commerce Department said. About $500 million of that came from China. The original anti-dumping and anti-subsidy complaint was brought by major US steelmakers.
(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Leslie Adler and Richard Chang)