Fri, Oct 04, 2013 - Page 13 News List

US steel company names Taiwan in trade complaint

US MARKET:A petition to the US International Trade Commission from AK Steel Holdings complains about practices by steelmakers in Taiwan and other countries

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

US carbon and stainless steel maker AK Steel Holding Corp on Monday filed anti-dumping and anti-subsidizing complaints with the US government against Taiwan and several other countries over low-priced imports of non-oriented electrical steel, the Bureau of Foreign Trade said yesterday.

In its petitions to the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission, AK Steel said steelmakers in Taiwan, China, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Sweden have used predatory pricing strategies to sell their non-oriented electrical steel products in the US, the bureau said in a statement.

The anti-competitive practice has caused AK Steel’s US business to suffer, the company said, alleging that various government subsidies could be reasons behind the low-priced imports from Taiwan, China and South Korea.

In a statement released on Monday, AK Steel said imports of non-oriented electrical steel from the six countries accounted for 92 percent of the US’ total imports last year.

The head of the bureau’s international trade policy division, Tong Ming-huei (童明慧), said by telephone yesterday that the government does provide numerous subsidies for firms, including steelmakers, to help them save costs in buying land and equipment.

Tong said the Ministry of Economic Affairs would investigate if local steelmakers’ pricing led to unfair competition and review its subsidy and tax relief measures.

The government would also consult with local steel and iron makers to address AK Steel’s concerns, she said.

“AK Steel might have intuitively factored in every subsidy program or tax relief measure being implemented by Taiwan’s government to back up its accusations against local steelmakers,” Tong said.

“If necessary, the ministry will clarify its policies and will seek solutions to avoid local steelmakers being charged an anti-dumping tax by the US,” she said.

Among all the firms named in AK Steel’s complaints, China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼) exported the most non-oriented electrical steel products to the US on an annual basis, Tong said.

Last year, Taiwanese steelmakers exported US$17.24 million of non-oriented electrical steel products to the US, with CSC accounting for more than 90 percent of them, she said.

“CSC will cooperate with the government and participate in surveys as well as legal investigations,” CSC vice president Steve Lee (李慶超) said by telephone yesterday.

Lee said AK Steel’s accusation is “a bit surprising” because CSC does not export a larger volume of non-oriented electrical steel to the US than it does to other countries.

CSC produces a total of 600,000 tonnes annually of non-oriented electrical steel products and exports them to the US, China, Brazil and other countries, Lee said.

CSC’s non-oriented electrical steel exports — most of which are designed for high-specification electronics — totaled 25,000 tonnes a year on average, accounting for less than 5 percent of its total exports, he added.

Non-oriented electrical steel is mainly used to manufacture various sizes of motors, compressors, as well as transformers, Lee said.

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