The blast furnace of a steel mill.
EDWARDSVILLE — The United Steelworkers, Madison County Board Chairman Alan J. Dunstan and other officials were notified Monday the U.S. Department of Commerce late Friday issued a determination for duties on hot-rolled steel imports from seven countries.
“The Commerce Department’s final ruling was anxiously awaited by steelworkers and steel companies for the past year of the investigation,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard said. “It levels the playing field with imports to provide fair and sustainable market prices for American steel, a critical step in restoring balance to the market.
“The hot-rolled steel trade case and others like it are vital to saving steel jobs and our communities,” he said. “But they’re only part of the solution. Chinese excess steel overcapacity is causing terrible injury worldwide and remains a long-term threat. In America, we must reignite demand by rebuilding the nation’s failing infrastructure and manufacturing growth with our own steel in order to compete in a global economy.”
The trade case, filed by six U.S. steel companies last August, charged producers in Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom with violating international trade laws by improperly subsidizing their steel producers and by dumping hot-rolled steel at below-market prices in the U.S. market.
Dunstan said that while the Department of Commerce’s ruling is another step in the right direction to level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers and steelworkers, thousands of men and women are still laid off and waiting to return to work.
“The actions of the Department of Commerce in imposing tariffs are victories, but the fight will not be over until U.S. Steel’s Granite City mill and other idled plants throughout the country are reopened and our workers can get back to the job of producing the finest steel products in the world,” Dunstan said.
The USW said all that remains in the hot-rolled steel product case is the final ruling of the U.S. International Trade Commission on the injury investigation following last week’s hearing. USW International Vice President Tom Conway expressed confidence the six commissioners will vote an affirmative ruling early next month to complete the investigation.
Steelworkers and iron ore miners have been devastated by surging imports of hot-rolled, cold-rolled and corrosion-resistant flat steel products that are all in the final stages of separate trade case enforcement actions. More than 19,000 ongoing layoffs in steel sector states have resulted from idled facilities.
Many of these steelworkers and iron ore miners have exhausted unemployment eligibility, challenging food banks to meet rising demand and threatening home foreclosures. The Granite City steel plant of U.S. Steel Corp. in Illinois has been idled since last year with 2,000 workers, along with miners on Minnesota’s Iron Range.
The affected steel states include Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Kentucky. Hot-rolled steel is used in automotive applications, pipe, tubing, transportation equipment, appliances, heavy machinery, machine parts and nonresidential construction.
According to the Department of Commerce fact sheet, the final determination on anti-dumping and countervailing duties for hot-rolled steel exports by producers in each country are:
- Australia – 29.37 percent (anti-dumping)
- Brazil – 33.14 to 34.28 percent (anti-dumping); 11.09 to 11.30 percent (countervailing duties)
- Japan – 4.99 to 7.51 percent (anti-dumping)
- Korea – 3.89 to 9.49 percent (anti-dumping); 3.89 to 57.04 percent (countervailing duties)
- Netherlands – 3.73 percent (anti-dumping)
- Turkey – 3.66 to 7.15 percent (anti-dumping); .34 (de minimis) to 6.01 percent (countervailing duties)
- United Kingdom – 33.06 percent (anti-dumping)
The U.S. International Trade Commission final injury determination for hot-rolled steel must be made by Sept. 19. The duties announced by the government will remain in place for five years for imports from the seven countries.