While excusing Korea from extraordinary trade barriers, Washington pressed on with actions to restrict Korean steel imports through more customary means.
The United States Department of Commerce on Thursday announced the imposition of up to 75.81 percent in anti-dumping duties on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) imported from South Korea.
Largest exporter Nexteel Co. was hit with maximum 75.81 percent, while smaller players including Seah Steel Corp. received relatively mild 6.75 percent. The duties are based on OCTGs imported from 2015 to 2016.
The final levies were 29.44 percentage points higher from preliminary findings for Nexteel and about the same or lower for the second largest OCTG exporter Seah Steel. In October last year, the commerce department assigned preliminary anti-dumping rates of 46.37 percent on Nexteel’s OCTG, 6.66 percent on Seah Steel and 19.68 percent on other Korean-made OCTGs.
The U.S. government delivered higher-than-expected rate on OCTG imports from Korea on the basis of “adverse facts available,” which is a method that Washington often uses to arbitrarily calculate the punitive rates by claiming the petitioner’s documents and cooperation insufficient.
Its practices have also been challenged and overturned by the U.S. Court of International Trade and World Trade Organization.
The heavy duties on top of quota cap will likely restrain Korean steel pipe exports to the U.S.
Seoul drew an exemption for Korean players on the sweeping U.S. 25 percent tariff on all steel imports under the Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act. Washington instead set an import quota, capping Korean steel imports at 2.68 million tons per year or at 70 percent level of Korean shipments from 2015 to 2017.
Under the new quota, Korean steel pipe exports to the U.S. would be capped at 51 percent of 2017 levels.
Korea’s annual OCTG export amounts about 1 million and Nexteel, Seah Steel, Hyundai Steel, and Husteel make up the bulk.
On Friday, Seah Steel shares closed down 2.38 percent at 73,700 won ($68.87) and those of Hyundai Steel at 50,000 won, unchanged from the previous session. Husteel shares ended up 1.56 percent at 13,000 won. Nexteel is unlisted.
By Woo Je-yoon and Cho Jeehyun
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