The American Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) today expressed “great disappointment” over the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) decision to continue antidumping duties on imported hot-rolled flat-rolled steel products from Brazil, Japan and Russia.
The decision came following the Commission’s five-year (“sunset”) review. The PMA warned of continuing damage to steel-consuming companies, especially small and middle market metalforming companies.
Every five years, the ITC conducts a sunset review to determine whether to terminate, suspend, or continue specific duties levied as a result of an anti- dumping/countervailing duties investigation.
There are currently 188 anti- dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) orders in place on various types of steel needed by U.S. manufacturers, many of which have been in place since the early 1990s – some for over two decades.
“With record high steel prices and healthy profits for the steel industry in 2004, there is no economic justification for the continuation of these duties,” said PMA President William E. Gaskin.
“If the robust market for hot-rolled steel doesn’t set the stage for elimination of these duties – where U.S. prices have typically been $100-200 per ton higher than the rest of the world for over the past 18 months – then when will it ever be time for them to disappear? Is this permanent protection for the steel industry at the expense of their customers?”
Metalforming companies, which include customer markets from defense and medical, to lawn and garden and telecommunications, are the largest consumers of flat-rolled steel in the United States.
Flat-rolled steel is the largest cost for most metalforming companies, comprising 40 to 60 percent or more of their sales dollars.
Said Gaskin, “It is disturbing that the U.S. government’s trade policy continues to work against U.S. steel-consuming companies. Maintaining the duties on hot-rolled steel will reduce demand for steel in this country over the long term, and will distort the market for years to come – putting many metalforming companies at a disadvantage to their foreign competitors.”
He continued, “When steel is in short-supply, small businesses are the first to suffer. Small to middle market metalforming companies usually are defenseless against price increases from their steel suppliers, and they often have little ability to pass along increases in steel costs to their customers. Today’s decision means that some of these small companies simply won’t survive. That’s government protectionism at its worst.”
“We will continue to press our view so steel consumers’ voices are heard in Washington, D.C.,” said Gaskin. “For the sake of the millions of workers employed by steel-consuming companies, the ITC needs to consider the impact of needless duties on U.S. manufacturers and their ability to source needed raw materials.”
PMA members testified on March 2 at an ITC hearing and described the difficulties they were facing in the steel marketplace, including doubled steel prices, reduced availability, and quality issues.
PMA also endorsed a Congressional Resolution (H. Res. #84) introduced in February by Rep. Joe Knollenberg, a Republican from the state of Michigan, urging the DOC and the ITC to consider the impact of anti- dumping/countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on domestic steel-consuming companies and the overall economy when conducting ‘sunset’ reviews of the duties on steel products. There are now 36 co-signers on this resolution.
On April 26, PMA representatives will testify at a sunset review hearing on stainless steel sheet and strip from eight countries.
The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) is the full-service trade association representing the $41-billion metalforming industry of North America – the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating and other value-added processes.
Its nearly 1,200 member companies include metal stampers, fabricators, spinners, slide formers and roll formers as well as suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry. Members are located in 30 countries, with the majority found in North America – in 41 states of the United States in addition to Canada and Mexico.
International Trade Commission
Precision Metalforming Association