Mexico's Camara Nacional del Hierro y del Acero (CANACERO) has asked the Secretaria de Comercio y Fomento Industrial (SECOFI) and the Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico (SHCP) to monitor imports of steel from Eastern Europe and Asia because these are being sold in Mexico at lower-than- market value.
CANACERO said the financial crisis in Asia and the former Soviet Union has forced countries like Ukraine, Romania, South Korea, and Japan to find new markets in which to place their products regardless of cost. Mexico imported more than 400,000 metric tons of steel in the first quarter of the year, much of it at less-than-market value, the organization reported.
CANACERO leader Jose Antonio Gomez Urquiza said many of these shipments are brought into Mexico with forged US certificates of origin. This means some steel imported from these countries receives preferential treatment reserved for US and Canadian products under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Gomez said.
Gomez acknowledged the lower-cost imports have not yet damaged the Mexican steel industry, which produced 14.7 million MT of iron and steel products in 1997. He asked President Ernesto Zedillo to closely monitor imports from these countries, however. "Our domestic production could be in danger if this trend continues," said Gomez.
While Mexican steel manufacturers are concerned about the low-cost imports from Asia and Eastern Europe, the US steel industry has similar concerns about steel imports from other countries including Mexico.
In a complaint filed before the US Commerce Department, the US Specialty Steel Industry of North America and the United Steelworkers of America asked the government to investigate low-priced imports of cold-rolled steel sheet, which is used primarily to manufacture consumer items like toasters and cutlery. …