South Korea’s steel exports to the United States plunged 16 percent last month from a year ago on rising import restrictions in the country under President Donald Trump and his trade protectionism policy, data showed on Sunday.
According to Korea Iron & Steel Association on Sunday, Korea exported 292,433 tons of steel to the U.S. in August, down 16 percent or 55,691 tons from 348,124 tons in the same month last year.
Korea shipped 2.518 million tons of steel to the U.S. from January to August this year, which is 100,000 tons less than 2.619 million tons in the same period last year, according to the association. The fall in exports is expected to steepen in the coming months due to seasonal factors.
The association predicted Korean steel exports for this year would likely fall short of 3 million tons, which would be the lowest since 2011 volume of 2.92 million tons, as industry leader Posco and others practically have given up shipping to the U.S. under current punitive duty levels.
The share of U.S.-bound exports against total shipment fell to 11.7 percent, compared with 12 percent last year and the peak of 17.7 percent in 2014.
The downfall in Korea’s steep shipments to the U.S. comes after the country imposed heavy tariffs to protect domestic producers. In July, last year, the U.S. government imposed 64.68 percent duties on Posco’s cold-rolled steel, including 6.32 percent anti-dumping duties and 58.36 percent anti-subsidy duties. Hyundai Steel Co. was also imposed with 38.24 percent duties. In the following month, the U.S. government slapped 60.93 percent duties on hot-rolled steel sheets produced by Posco.
Amid rising industry concerns over a series of duties imposed by the U.S., Posco Chairman Kwon Oh-joon told Korean President Moon Jae-in at a meeting in July at the Blue House that it has practically given up on U.S. exports for the time being and that it is devising various mid- to long-term measures. The U.S. accounts for about 1 percent of Posco’s total steel exports, limiting overall damage from duties slapped by the U.S. government.
By Moon Ji-woong
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