PITTSBURGH, March 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) union today commended the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) for its preliminary decision to place antidumping duties on unfairly traded hot-rolled flat steel from seven countries.
The trade case, filed by six U.S. steel companies last August, charges producers in Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom with violating international trade regulations by improperly subsidizing their steel producers and by dumping hot-rolled steel at below market prices in the U.S. market.
"With more than 12,000 ongoing layoffs across the American steel and iron ore mining industry, plus tens-of-thousands of steelworkers jobs depending on this decision -- it sends a strong signal that our government will enforce international trade laws to defend American manufacturing jobs," said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President.
"The domestic steel sector is facing a crisis caused by a flood of unfairly priced imports and by global overcapacity, which is largely fueled by China," Gerard added.
"We will continue to push this administration and those candidates vying for the White House to do everything possible to defend manufacturing jobs from illegal trade practices."
Gerard declared: "If we allow illegal trade practices to choke the American manufacturing sector and its workers, we foolishly undermine our country's ability to compete globally, and dangerously undermine our national security."
The petitions of the domestic steel companies against hot-rolled steel imports said illegal trade practices facilitated imports from all seven countries to rise 73 percent from 2012 to 2014. In today's preliminary finding, the DOC found anti-dumping margins in a range of 3.97-7.33 percent for Korea to 49.05 percent for United Kingdom.
The duty margins indicate hot-rolled steel imports were being sold at a price that is either below the cost of producing the product, or sold at a price below that producer's domestic price.
Tom Conway, USW International Vice President who is responsible for national steel sector contract bargaining, said: "Our members have the skills and are ready to mine the iron ore and to make the steel for cars, appliances, high speed rail, skyscrapers and America's infrastructure.
"Dumped and unfairly subsidized foreign imports destroy those jobs and destabilize our country's manufacturing and mining sector."
The six steel corporations that filed the petition are: AK Steel Corp., Ohio; ArcelorMittal USA LLC, Ill.; Nucor Corporation, N.C.; SSAB Enterprises, LLC, Ill.; Steel Dynamics, Inc., Ind., and U.S. Steel Corp., Pa.
The steel companies reported that imports from these countries during the January through May 2015 period rose an additional 54 percent over that same time period in 2014. Earlier this year, the DOC issued a preliminary determination in the investigation on subsidies that Brazilian producers of hot-rolled steel would be subject to countervailing duties of 7.42 percent.
Today's preliminary antidumping order on hot-rolled steel is a critical step in one of three separate high profile steel trade cases. The other two USW-supported cases against imports still being investigated are cold-rolled and corrosion-resistant steel.
Hot rolled steel is primarily used in appliances, automotive products, heavy machinery, machine parts, nonresidential construction and transportation equipment. A small portion is further processed into cold-rolled and galvanized or plated steel products.
With the DOC's preliminary margins, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will require cash deposits for the potential duties until the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) makes a final decision. The next steps in the hot-rolled steel case will be a final determination by the DOC in late July and a final vote by the ITC in September.
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)