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International Trade Commission finds cause to investigate imported rebar

By a 6-0 vote last month, U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) members preliminarily determined there is reasonable indication that concrete reinforcing steel imports from Japan, Taiwan, and Turkey have materially injured the U.S. rebar industry. ITC figures show shipments from the three countries totaled nearly 20 percent of the $4.5 billion in rebar U.S. concrete construction consumed last year.

The determination responds to a September 2016 petition filed by the Rebar Trade Action Coalition (RTAC), representing domestic producers Bayou Steel Group, Byer Steel Group, Commercial Metals Co., Gerdau USA, Nucor Corp., and Steel Dynamics. They allege that unfairly dumped rebar from Japan, Taiwan and Turkey—plus subsidized rebar from the latter country—are injuring the U.S. industry and threatening domestic producers with additional losses.

“This ruling confirms the injurious effects that Japanese, Taiwanese and Turkish imports of rebar are having on the U.S. industry,” said lead RTAC counsel Alan Price, who chairs the International Trade Practice of Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C. “Producers in each of these countries are using unfair pricing practices to steal market share from domestic producers. As a result, the domestic rebar industry has been forced to lower prices and has experienced significant declines in profitability.”

The ITC’s affirmative preliminary injury determination paves the way for the U.S. Department of Commerce to continue investigating allegations surrounding rebar imports. The agency is expected to issue preliminary antidumping and countervailing duty determinations no later than the first half of next year; if it reaches an affirmative preliminary determination, provisional antidumping and countervailing duties will be collected based on the preliminary margins calculated.

The Commerce Department initiated four investigations in October on imports of rebar from Japan, Taiwan and Turkey. Officials found reason to believe that producers in the countries were dumping rebar into the U.S. at margins ranging from 86.12 percent to 206.17 percent. The agency is also investigating Turkish government subsidy programs in support of its rebar industry. RTAC petitioned Commerce and ITC to investigate rebar imports from Japan, Taiwan and Turkey, whose shipments to the U.S. concrete industry climbed more than 150 percent over the 2013–2015 period, from 742,300 to 1,930,000 short tons.