U.S. steel companies want Russian trade deal axed

6 May 2015

U.S. steel producers on Tuesday demanded the Department of Commerce scrap a trade deal sparing Russian producers of carbon steel plate from import duties.

Nucor Corp, SSAB Enterprises LLC and Arcelor Mittal USA said a flood of cheap cut-to-length (CTL) carbon steel plate was hurting the local industry.

Russian producers may have breached the terms of a suspension agreement, originally signed in 1997 and amended in 2003, that deferred anti-dumping duties on the products.

"The suspension agreement and its normal value pricing mechanism have failed to function as originally intended, and instead have facilitated Russian producers' exports of large and increasing volumes of low-priced CTL plate to the U.S. market," the companies said in the submission.

U.S. steelmakers last year succeeded in overturning a suspension agreement on Russian hot-rolled, flat-rolled, carbon quality steel, which had set a cap on imports and a minimum price.

If this second agreement is also revoked, Russia's Severstal will face anti-dumping duties of 53.81 percent and other Russian producers and exporters will face duties of 185.00 percent, a source close to the petitioners said.

Russian steel plate imports rose more than 2,800 percent in 2014 from 2013 to more than 55,000 metric tons, the companies said.

Last week, Nucor and SSAB Enterprises launched a separate action complaining Chinese producers were circumventing import duties on steel plate.