Exporters hope US won’t make anti-dumping duties on rebar permanent

Turkish steel rebar exporters are hoping that the US won’t make a preliminary decision to set duties on imports of steel rebar from Turkey permanent.

The US Commerce Department on Monday set preliminary duties on millions of dollars worth of imports of steel rebar from Mexico and Turkey after a complaint by US producers about price undercutting by foreign competitors.

The department set dumping duties of up to 2.6 percent on Turkish imports after American producers alleged companies from the two countries were selling steel rebar, which is used to reinforce concrete, at unfairly low prices. A final decision is due on July 2.

Turkish firms expect US authorities to reach a favorable solution to the current impasse, Turkish Steel Exporters’ Union (CIB) Chairman Namik Ekinci said in an emailed note on Tuesday.

US manufacturers claimed rebar imports from Turkey were subsidized by the Turkish government, but the Commerce Department ruled in February that this was not the case. Calling the preliminary anti-dumping duties on Turkish products “unfair,” Ekinci said: “We hope that the US court comes to a verdict that will not cause unfair damage to the exporters.”

The US has launched separate, ongoing investigation into steel products that has so far yielded no concrete result. Earlier in 2013, the US Commerce Department launched an investigation that could lead to steep duties on steel pipe used in oil and natural gas production from Turkey and eight other countries. Domestic manufacturers say the pipe is being sold in the United States at unfairly low prices. The department is expected to make a final decision this year.

The US International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department launched investigations after a petition was filed last year by Nucor Corp., Commercial Metals Co. and other manufacturers. The trade commission found there was reasonable indication the imports are harming local firms.

Nucor Chief Executive John Ferriola told US lawmakers in March that imports from Mexico and Turkey had doubled since 2010 and were having a “devastating” impact on the industry. The Commerce Department said in 2013 that imports of steel concrete reinforcing bar from Mexico were valued at an estimated $182.1 million and from Turkey at $381.3 million. The manufacturers accuse Mexican and Turkish competitors of unfairly undercutting US prices to grab sales and market share, a trade strategy known as “dumping.”

Turkish goods will face a duty of 2.64 percent, except for those from Habas Sinai ve Tibbi Gazlar Istihsal Endustrisi A.S., which was excused. Duties will apply on goods from Grupo Simec and Turkey’s Icdas Celik Enerji Tersane ve Ulasim Sanayi A.S. from next week. Duties on other imports will be backdated 90 days, to start in late January.

In a second high-profile steel case, US producers have urged the Commerce Department to reconsider a February ruling that found no dumping of steel tube for the oil and gas industry from South Korea, although preliminary duties were set on imports from countries including Turkey and Vietnam.

Regarding the steel pipe investigation, Ekinci said that the CIB was following developments closely and that the final decision should come after July 15, when the US Commerce Department will discuss the issue.