Mon, Jan 13, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Steel industry hurt: MOEA

IMPORTERS TO BLAME:South Korean and Chinese firms were determined to have caused harm to local manufacturers by selling products at very low prices

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Imports of cold-rolled stainless steel products have materially injured Taiwan’s steel industry because their prices were manipulated, according to a government report.

After more than a year of investigation, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) on Friday issued a final determination in an anti-dumping case, saying Chinese and South Korean steelmakers caused local firms to lose their home market shares because of dumping since 2009.

In a complaint to the Ministry of Finance in July 2012, local steelmakers Yieh United Steel Corp (燁聯) and Tang Eng Iron Works Corp (唐榮) said many of their domestic rivals had been forced to cut product prices to lower than manufacturing costs to be competitive against Chinese and South Korean companies.

The MOEA said its investigation showed that Chinese and South Korean steelmakers imported certain stainless steel products, including a variety of 300-series cold-rolled steel coils and sheets, to Taiwan at cheaper prices from 2009 until 2012.

Price differences between Taiwanese steelmakers’ 300-series cold-rolled steel products and their Chinese and South Korean rivals’ products ranged from NT$1,444 to NT$4,147 per tonne during the period, MOEA said.

As a result, Taiwanese steelmakers’ home market share fell to 78.3 percent in 2012 from 87.2 percent in 2009, while Chinese and South Korean steelmakers’ combined share of the Taiwanese market rose to 15.3 percent from 4.9 percent during the same period, MOEA said.

After the government opened the anti-dumping investigation, the price gap shrank to minus-NT$546 during the first three quarters of last year. Taiwanese steelmakers’ home market share rebounded to 85.1 percent in the January-to-September period of last year, up from 77 percent a year earlier, MOEA said.

MOEA said it would notify the finance ministry of its final determination, adding that the latter would determine whether to impose an anti-dumping duty on the importers within 10 days after it receives the notice.

The 300-series cold-rolled stainless steel products are used in the manufacture of cars, home appliances, aeronautics, vehicles and machinery.

In a separate statement, MOEA said on Friday that a preliminary probe found that imports of photopolymer plates from China did not cause material injury to local industry because there was no local output of such products.

Photopolymer plates are used to print newspapers, the economics ministry said.

However, the economics ministry said its investigation showed that there were suspicions that imports of thermal plates from China caused material injury to the local industry as there was evidence Chinese firms might have been involved in dumping while trading the product.

Thermal plates are mainly used to print commercial publications, it added.

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