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US Commerce Slaps Fresh Duties On Mexican And Chinese Imported Steel Goods

US Commerce Slaps Fresh Duties On Mexican And Chinese Imported Steel Goods

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently issued 31% tariffs on structural steel imports from Mexico and 141% tariffs on steel from China.

U.S. officials made a determination that producers in both Mexico and China had dumped fabricated structural steel on the U.S. market at prices below fair market value, hurting the U.S. steel industry.

"The Department of Commerce announced its affirmative preliminary determinations in the anti-dumping duty investigations of imports of certain fabricated structural steel from China and Mexico," according to a recent release from U.S. Commerce.

The U.S. imported $622.4 million in fabricated structural steel from Mexico in 2018 and $897.5 million from China.

Structural steel includes items such as I-beams, rods, joists, girders, columns plates and flanges for assembly into structures like buildings, parking decks, hospitals, stadiums and ports.

As part of the ongoing steel anti-dumping investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin collecting cash deposits of up to 30.58% on imports of fabricated structural steel at the U.S.-Mexico border from select companies.

Four Mexican steel producers received tariffs of 30.58% because they did not respond to requests for information from officials in the U.S. Those companies were Construcciones Industriales Tapia SA de CV, Estructuras Metálicas la Popular SA de CV, Operadora CICSA SA de CV and Acero Technología. 

Mexican company Building Systems de México SA de CV, which issued a response to U.S. authorities during the anti-dumping investigation, was presented a tariff rate of 10.58%.

Of the six Mexican companies that were investigated by U.S. authorities, only one firm — Corey S.A. de C.V./Industrias Recal S.A. de C.V. — received no tariffs.

Several Chinese steel producers received tariffs ranging from 52% (Wison Heavy Industry Co Ltd) to 57.86% (Jinhuan Construction Group Co Ltd), according to Reuters. U.S. Commerce assigned preliminary tariffs of 141% for all other Chinese steel fabricators.

The preliminary investigation also found that no Canadian companies engaged in any anti-dumping of lower-priced structural steel on U.S. markets.

Commerce's findings were the result of a complaint lodged in February by members of the American Institute of Steel Construction in Chicago. 

Luz María de la Mora, Mexico's undersecretary for foreign trade, released a statement saying the anti-dumping "measures are the result of the investigation process that U.S. Commerce Department conducts on a regular basis, as in the rest of the world, when an industry feels affected by imports that it considers are carried out through practices unfair (dumping and subsidies)."

Mora also said the new steel tariffs on Mexico are not related to tariffs lifted in May by President Donald Trump.

"It is important to note that this proceeding is not related to U.S. Commerce's investigation of steel and aluminum under Section 232, which refers to U.S. Homeland Security, from whose tariffs Mexico and Canada were excluded on May 20, 2019, after extensive negotiations with the [U.S.]," Mora said in the release.

A final determination by U.S. Commerce in the structural steel anti-dumping investigation against Mexico and China is due early in 2020.

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