Tue, Mar 13, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Local steel exporters fear US duties

BIGGEST PARTNER:Steel shipments to the US accounted for 13.7% of the total by weight, but 21.1% by value, while the US shipped back 1.22 million tonnes of scrap last year

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

More than 10 Taiwanese steel products have been subjected to anti-dumping or countervailing duties by the US government, and duties on steel and aluminum imports announced by US President Trump last week are expected to further weigh on the local steel industry, the Taiwan Steel & Iron Industries Association (台灣鋼鐵工業同業公會) said yesterday.

“The US market is Taiwan’s largest export destination for steel products… We foresee that the new duties will expand the scope of affected steel products to such exports as coated steel rolls and welded steel pipes,” the association said in a statement.

Trump on Thursday last week signed an order under Section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. Both duties were expected to take effect within 15 days.

Canada and Mexico have temporarily been exempted from the tariffs. However, they would have to agree to the US’ demands in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement if they want to be exempted from the duties permanently, the order said.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs on Friday last week said the tariffs would damage free trade in the global market and it would seek talks with the US government about waiving tariffs for Taiwanese companies.

The association said Taiwan shipped 1.14 million tonnes of steel products to the US last year, accounting for 13.7 percent of Taiwan’s total steel exports.

By export value, shipments to the country made up 21.1 percent, or NT$40.77 billion (US$1.392 billion), of Taiwan’s total steel export last year, it said.

Exports to the US include cold-rolled steel coils, coated steel rolls, welded steel pipes and cold-rolled stainless steel coils, the association said, adding that the products are mainly used in construction, car manufacturing and petrochemical production processes.

The US and Taiwanese steel industries complement each other, as the US exported 1.22 million tonnes of steel waste to Taiwan last year, the association said.

The association foresees that the US government’s trade protection measure would increase US steelmakers’ production utilization rate in the short term, it said.

In the long term, the duties would prompt foreign steel makers to increase their investments in the US, which would further lower the country’s demand for steel imports and further affect Taiwan’s steel industry, the association said.

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