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Steelmakers face U.S. antidumping dispute

U.S.-based steel producers have lodged a complaint against South Korean and other steelmakers with the U.S. International Trade Commission accusing them of irregular trade practices.

This is the first time that a country’s steel industry has taken anti-dumping retaliatory proceedings against foreign competitors this year ― duties were levied on some global steelmakers by authorities in six markets including Korea and China over similar disputes last year.

According to an overseas media outlet, the steelmakers with major interests in the U.S. claim that companies from Korea, China, India, Taiwan and Italy are disturbing the market order with unfairly priced products.

Products concerned in the litigation are coated steel used in construction and automobile manufacturing.

The plaintiffs are United States Steel, Nucor, Steel Dynamics, ArcelorMittal USA, AK Steel and California Steel Industries.

Of the six, five are based in the U.S., while ArcelorMittal operates large steel plants in the country.

According to reports, lawyers of the six firms claimed that steelmakers from the five countries have “devastated pricing in the U.S. market” to increase their market presence, due to which the plaintiffs and their workers have suffered damages.

For the USITC to side with the plaintiffs, it has to be proven that steelmakers based outside the U.S. sold products at below the accepted market prices, or that their operations are aided by their government policies that fall below international standards.

In the complaint, the U.S. steel firms claimed that there are 48 unfair support programs in place in China, and that Korea has 43 such programs. India is alleged to have 88 programs that give its steelmakers unfair advantage, while Taiwan has 22 and Italy 12.

The USITC is required to determine whether the concerned non-U.S. steelmakers’ operations resulted in damages sufficient to warrant duties to be levied.

A preliminary ruling is expected within the year from the U.S. Department of Commerce, and a final ruling is expected to be passed next year.

According to industry data, the price of steel products have dropped 25 percent during the first four months of the year despite the demand being buoyed by the improving U.S. economy.

The U.S. steel industry blames cheaper imported products flooding the market for the phenomena.

By Suk Gee-hyun (