US Steel Industry Files Complaint against Korea for Cold Rolled Steel

31 July 2015

The U.S. steel industry a lodged complaint against South Korea for dumping and providing illegal subsidies for cold rolled steel. Korean government and the local steel industry representatives, in turn, said that the accusation is simply absurd.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) on July 29, five U.S. steel makers, including US Steel and AK Steel, filed complaints with the United States International Trade Commission and the United States Department of Commerce against eight countries, including Korea, China, India, and Brazil, requesting anti-dumping and countervailing duties on cold rolled steel.

In the complaint, the U.S. steel industry said, "U.S. steel makers were hurt by Korean exporter dumping. Therefore, anti-dumping duties between 93.32 and 176.13 percent should be levied." When it comes to countervailing duties, they cited 41 government assistance programs as illegal subsidies. The government's support for energy at below a reasonable price, short-term financial support for exports, and export financing insurance were included. Target companies for the investigation haven't been decided yet.

The local industry is keeping a close watch on the background of the complaint, but apparently they do not care about the issue that much in the sense that on the whole, oversupply in the export country is bound to affect export prices. Moreover, government assistance programs named by U.S. steelmakers were carried out in accordance with various provisions of the WTO. In short, they argue the U.S. industry is making unreasonable claims.

Jae Hyun-jung, a researcher at KITA, pointed out, "The problem is not about governmental funds," adding, "The global steel market itself is suffering from oversupply, and U.S. companies are experiencing financial difficulties as well. So, they are behaving irrationally to cover their losses."