The United States Department of Commerce is said to have recently made a preliminary anti-dumping judgment on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from South Korea to drop a duty bomb. The Commerce Department also plans to start anti-dumping probe again this year on cold/hot rolled steel sheet manufactured by South Korea’s Posco, which was imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties of about 60 percent by the department in 2016.
The Korean government and related industries are keeping a close watch on the ruling because it could drop a hint about industry-wide import restrictions of Washington on Korean steel products before the scheduled Korea-U.S. FTA amendment negotiation earlier next year.
According to the steel industry and foreign press on Tuesday, the U.S. Commerce Department has made the preliminary judgment of anti-dumping duties amounting to a maximum of 46 percent on OCTG imported from Korea. The country’s largest exporter Nexteel Co., who will be the hardest hit by the ruling, has to pay duties of 46.37 percent. The steel maker has already been suffering from poor exports to America during the second half due to the initial probe earlier this year that finalized anti-dumping duties of 24.92 percent on its exports.
“In the recent preliminary judgment, duties doubled from the first final judgment,” complained an official at Nexteel, saying the U.S. government again applied the concept of a “particular market situation (PMS)”.
In the first final judgment in April, import duties were imposed on Nexteel products in the form of PMS. The PMS provides a basis for the authorities to use its discretion when imposing tariffs, not to trust the cost documents submitted from the exporter. In the Nexteel case, the Commerce Department applied PMS to the purchase price of OCTG’s main material in Korea and Seoul’s electricity bill policy for industrial purposes and calculated a dumping margin higher than usual.
For the upcoming final judgment in April 2018, Nexteel is mulling over measures to lower the tariff by hiring an additional foreign law firm, said the company official.
Seah Steel Corp., South Korea’s second largest OCTG exporter to America, has to pay slightly higher duties of 6.66 percent. The number more than doubled from 2.76 percent finalized at the first judgment but is much lower than the biggest exporter.
The second anti-dumping ruling for Posco’s cold/hot rolled steel sheet will play an important role in giving a hint about a future import policy of the U.S. government under President Donald Trump.
According to the steel industry, Posco has requested for a review about duties on cold rolled steel sheet to the authorities last month and also plans to finish the additional request for hot rolled one this month. Its Washington office and headquarters are teaming up to lower the tariff.
By Moon Ji-woong
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