US calls for 256% duty on China steel

The U.S. Department of Commerce said corrosion-resistant steel products from China were produced at unfairly low prices and has called for a 256 percent duty on their imports.

In a preliminary report, the department also recommended imposition of taxes on imports from India, South Korea, Steel and Italy though at much lower rates.

The findings were part of an investigation by the department into steel imports by China after six American steelmakers, including U.S. Steel and Nucor, filed three trade complaints against imports of hot-rolled, cold-rolled and corrosion-resistant steel earlier this year. Prices of hot-rolled steel coil — an industry benchmark — plunged about 40 percent this year and U.S. mills have idled as much as 38 percent of their capacity due to rising imports, Bloomberg reported.

The U.S. call for higher tariffs came soon after Mexico’s economic ministry launched an anti-dumping investigation on imports of Chinese steel products. In November, nine U.S., South American and European steel manufacturing industry bodies charged that China — which produces almost 50 percent of the world’s crude steel — was the main cause for the current global supply glut.

“The global steel industry is currently suffering from a crisis of overcapacity and the Chinese steel industry is the predominant global contributor to this problem” the associations had said in a joint statement.

Recently India raised tariff on Chinese steel after complaints from domestic steel makers and is likely to impose further restrictions.

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