US steel execs urge duties on imports from Turkey

US steel execs urge duties on imports from Turkey

US steel execs urge duties on imports from Turkey

Local steel companies in the US pressure the trade authorities to ban some imports from Turkey and South Korea, citing ‘unjust price competition.’ AFP photo

U.S. trade officials should slap duties on super-cheap imports of steel products from South Korea and Turkey, steel industry executives, unions and pro-steel lawmakers said.

Industry boosters urged the Commerce Department to reverse preliminary decisions against complaints by steelmakers with operations in the United States, warning the industry was under threat from imports which were often priced below cost and violated international trade laws.

Caucus chair Tim Murphy said Commerce should impose duties on imports of steel tube for the oil and gas industry from South Korea and Turkey, and on rebar from Turkey.

If the department does not change its mind when it hands down final decisions later this year, Congress should consider introducing legislation to help the steel industry, he said.

“The Commerce Department must take a stand now against these violations of international trade law,” the Pennsylvania Republican said at the hearing of the caucus, a bipartisan group of about 100 members of Congress who mostly represent districts with steel manufacturers.

Shares of companies that produce so-called “oil country tubular goods” tumbled last month when Commerce opted in a preliminary ruling not to impose duties on goods from South Korea, although it did find that other countries were selling below cost.

In February, Commerce found imports of Turkish rebar had not been made using subsidies that unfairly benefited foreign companies. A separate ruling is due in April on whether the rebar was sold below market prices.