Makers Dent Steel Dumping: Trade Commission Sees Harm to U.S. Commerce
Selinger, Marc, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Major U.S. steel makers yesterday won the first of several victories they need in their bid for federal protection from a flood of low-priced imports.
The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled there is a "reasonable indication" that cheap imports have harmed or could harm U.S. companies. The ITC, a quasi-judicial body, voted 6-0, without comment.
"We welcome" the decision, said Alan Wolff, an attorney for U.S. steel makers. "It's the first step in getting effective relief."
The case now goes to the Commerce Department, which will decide whether to slap duties of as much as 199 percent on steel imports from Brazil, Japan and Russia. A preliminary decision is expected in February.
David Phelps, executive director of the American Institute for International Steel, which represents steel importers and exporters, said foreign steel makers should not be punished because they are selling at low prices.
"In a bad market, who doesn't sell below cost?" Mr. Phelps said. The grievance process, he said, is "pure and simple protectionism. The whole process is indefensible from an economics perspective."
The cases before the ITC and Commerce Department, similar to lawsuits, were filed in September by the steelworkers' union and 12 steel companies including Pennsylvania-based Bethlehem Steel Corp., the nation's third largest, which employs 4,700 workers at Sparrows Point in southeast Baltimore County. The case involves hot-rolled steel used for automobiles and construction.
The U.S. steel makers say that economically troubled foreign countries, eager to unload excess steel, are violating U.S. dumping laws by selling it in the United States below their production costs or home-market prices. …