The US Department of Commerce on Wednesday issued a preliminary ruling against six Taiwanese steelmakers, including Leicong Industry Co (麗鋼), saying it had discovered that the firms exported cheap, non-oriented electrical steel (NOES) products to the US with the help of state subsidies.
NOES is cold-rolled, flat-rolled alloy steel used in the machine tool industry and electricity generators.
For allegedly dumping NOES products that Washington says generated unfair pricing competition for their US rivals, Leicong and five other steelmakers will be made to pay anti-subsidy duties ranging from 6.41 to 12.82 percent for US imports, the Bureau of Foreign Trade said yesterday in a statement on its Web site.
Bureau deputy director-general Cynthia Kiang (江文若) said by telephone: “Only those steelmakers which received subsidies accounting for more than 2 percent of their NOES prices would face the anti-subsidy duties.”
Kiang said the anti-subsidy duty rates were determined by US Customs on the basis of the value of the subsidies each steelmaker received from the Taiwanese government.
“However, the results of the US Department of Commerce’s anti-dumping probe will be proven false because the Taiwanese government never conducted a subsidy program for steelmakers,” Kiang said.
As a member of the WTO, Taiwan cannot subsidize any company in its steel industry and must “treat every firm equally,” she added.
To help resolve the six steelmakers’ dispute with US officials, a bureau task force plans to aid the US commerce department’s anti-subsidy investigation in the coming months by providing documents that track the firms’ NOES prices, she added.
The department is scheduled to issue a final decision on its probe in July.
China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼), Taiwan’s No. 1 integrated steelmaker, and its subsidiaries will not be subject to the anti-subsidy tax because a preliminary investigation found that they received “an inconsiderable amount” in subsidies.
According to Washington, a de minimis subsidy rate of less than 1 percent was calculated for China Steel and affiliates Himag Magnetic Corp (高科磁技) and China Steel Global Trading Corp (中貿國際).
The department launched its anti-subsidy probe into exporters from Taiwan, China and South Korea in November last year after Ohio-based AK Steel Corp filed a complaint with the department.
It is the first time in 27 years that Taiwan’s steelmakers have been the subjects of an anti-dumping investigation by the US government.