China steel association emboldened as U.S. antitrust probe dropped

21 March 2018

China’s steel industry will resolutely respond to any trade action taken by United States, the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) said on Tuesday as it hailed a climbdown by Washington in an antitrust case.

The CISA statement came after the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) decided to terminate its investigation into imports of certain carbon and alloy steel products for alleged violation of antitrust laws, also known as Section 337.

In 2016, the USITC launched a probe into imports of certain carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate from 12 countries, including China and South Korea, after receiving complaints from United States Steel Corporation of Pittsburgh (U.S. Steel).

In a statement dated March 19, the USITC said it found U.S. Steel had failed to plead or demonstrate antitrust injury.

The termination of the case marks a small victory for the Chinese metals industry, which is facing trade action from the United States on a number of fronts.

“The U.S. has been continuously creating trade friction with China in the steel sector for many years ... China’s steel industry will resolutely respond to the challenges triggered by the U.S. and make the Chinese steel industry bigger and stronger,” said the CISA statement.

Earlier this month, CISA issued China’s most explicit threat in the trade spat so far by urging Beijing to retaliate after U.S. President Donald Trump decided tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium imports effective March 23.