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Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 9:32:12 ---- The fact: 42.844.000 visitors done.

ITC Rules in Sect. 201 Case::U.S. Injured by Unfair Imports
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Company: TubeNet, UK
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The U.S. International Trade Commission concluded Oct. 22 that a surge in imports of certain steel products has harmed U.S. steel producers (Section 201 trade case). The products affected by the ITC's affirmative determination constitute about 74 percent of U.S. steel imports.

Commerce Secretary Don Evans says: "The ITC's injury finding opens the next stage of the Section 201 process, which is a recommendation from the ITC to the president on possible action to assist domestic producers in adjusting to import competition,".

The Bush Administration requested an ITC investigation of steel imports on June 22. The ITC will now prepare a recommendation as to what action the president should take in response to the import surge, and will announce it Nov. 30. The ITC will follow that with a report on the results of its proceedings to President Bush on Dec. 19, after which he will have up to 75 days to decide whether to adopt, modify or decline the ITC recommendation.

The Section 201 proceedings are part of the administration's three-pronged effort to respond to the challenges facing the U.S. steel industry. The second prong consists of negotiations with U.S. trading partners to seek the near-term elimination of inefficient excess capacity in the global steel industry. The third prong involves negotiations with trading partners to develop rules that will govern steel trade in the future and eliminate market-distorting subsidies that gave rise to the industry's current condition.

Negotiations aimed at advancing these two multilateral prongs were launched at a conference in Paris in September and will be pursued vigorously, Evans says.

Domestic reactions

U.S. integrated and minimill steel manufacturers, the United Steelworkers of America, trade associations, members of Congress and even raw material suppliers reacted positively to the ITC's finding of injury. Relief under Section 201 can provide the American steel industry with some breathing room while longer-term solutions to global overcapacity and illegally traded imports are worked out. Domestic producers hope import restraints will eventually garner them more orders and higher prices.

Rep. Phil English, R-Pa., says: "The victory today for American Steel is broad and sweeping. The commission's actions lay the groundwork for a return to prosperity,"

USWA President Leo Gerard says: "The ITC deserves a good deal of credit for providing the first ray of hope in years to the 27,000 steelworkers who have been forced out of their jobs by the predatory practices of our trading partners,"

Peter D. Southwick, Ispat Inland Inc.'s president and chief operating officer."The number of companies filing for bankruptcy has reached 25 and steel prices have continued to fall" as a result of unfair trade in steel.

"As leader of the most recent steel company to fall victim to unfair imports, I am grateful that the ITC has recognized the damage our industry has suffered," Bethlehem Steel Chairman and CEO Robert S. Miller Jr. says. The company filed for bankruptcy protection Oct. 15.

The injury vote is just the beginning, Nucor President and CEO Dan DiMicco says. "We have long sought a time-out from the surge of imports. To achieve an effective time-out, the industry must have a meaningful remedy from the ITC and the president. Only then will free and fair trade be restored."

The ITC ruled that imports of semi-finished carbon and alloy steel (slabs), plate, hot-rolled sheet, strip and coils, cold-rolled sheet and strip, corrosion-resistant and coated sheet and strip, tinplate, welded pipe, stainless steel bar, rod and wire caused injury. U.S. makers of some other products--carbon steel heavy structurals and stainless cut plate, for example--expressed disappointment at their exclusion but supported the overall finding.

The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition, which represents steel consumers, believes that imports are not the problem and the only good remedy for American consumers is one that addresses the root causes of the steel industry's problems: legacy costs, management mistakes, and an inability to react quickly to market realities.

Foreign reactions

The American Institute for International Steel, which represents importers, exporters and traders, claims the ITC ruling will do nothing to solve the domestic industry's problems and could lead to a trade war with U.S. allies.

Should the end result of the 201 process be the imposition of additional protectionist barriers to steel imports, "it will only delay the day of reckoning for the non-economic capacity in this country," AIIS President David Phelps says.

Hidenori Tazawa, executive vice president for NKK America and chairman of the Japan Steel Information Center, says that because imports have dropped dramatically since 1998, "there is no legal or economic justification" for the ITC's finding of injury. "The industry's problems are at home, not abroad," he says, referring specifically to integrated mills that are inefficient, high-cost operations.

Associated Press reports that South Korea's Commerce, Industry and Energy Minister, Chang Che-shik, said the ruling "can severely hurt free and fair trade." A spokesman for the Korea Iron and Steel Association denied his country's steelmakers receive government subsidies and South Korea is prepared to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization.

The European Commission, executive body for the European Union, also threatened to complain to the WTO if the United States does impose curbs on steel imports, a move that would hurt European steelmakers, Reuters reports.

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