World Economy

US to Impose 256% Tariff on China Steel

US to Impose 256% Tariff on China Steel US to Impose 256% Tariff on China Steel

Corrosion-resistant steel imports from China were sold at unfairly low prices and will be taxed at 256%, according to a preliminary finding of the US Department of Commerce.

Imports from India, South Korea and Italy will be taxed at lower rates, the agency said Tuesday in a statement. Imports from Taiwan and Italy’s Marcegaglia SpA will not face anti-dumping tariffs. The government found dumping margins of 3.25% for most South Korean steel imports, with Hyundai Steel Co.’s shipments subject to duties of 3.5%. Imports from Italian companies excluding Marcegaglia will be taxed at 3.1%. Indian imports are subject to duties from 6.6% to 6.9%, Bloomberg reported.

“We’re concerned that the dumping that’s occurring is at higher levels than these determinations reflect,” Tim Brightbill, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP, a law firm representing US steelmaker Nucor Corp., said Tuesday in an interview. “We have serious concerns that these preliminary duties are not enough at a time when unfairly priced imports continue to surge into the US market at unprecedented rates.”

US producers including Nucor, US Steel Corp. and Steel Dynamics Inc. filed cases in June alleging that some products from China, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan had been dumped in the US, harming domestic companies. In November, the government found that all those countries, except Taiwan, subsidized their domestic production by as much as 236% of its price.

  Import Barrier

Tuesday’s tariffs, combined with countervailing duties as high as 236% announced on Nov. 3, create a barrier to imports of these steel products from China, said Caitlin Webber, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Washington.

“A 500% duty is obviously prohibitive,” Webber said in an interview. “The lower ones are much less prohibitive and would probably have a lower impact on imports.”

US steelmakers have filed three sets of cases against imports of hot-rolled, cold-rolled and corrosion-resistant steel after deliveries from abroad surged. The price of hot-rolled steel coil, the benchmark product, is down about 40% this year, with domestic mills idling as much as 38% of capacity after imports climbed by 38% in 2014.

Imports of all steel products through October rose 3.9% in 2015. The Commerce Department estimated that the value of imports of anti-corrosive steel–coils of the metal which have been coated with zinc or other treatments to prevent rust–from the target countries to be $2.16 billion.