The U.S. Department of Commerce on Tuesday ruled that imports of cold-rolled steel from China will be subject to a maximum 266% anti-dumping duty plus a 256% anti-subsidy duty. Cold-rolled steel is used both in construction and in automobile manufacturing. The duties could become effective as early as this summer.
The ruling is one of three expected on anti-dumping cases involving China. United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) is also seeking a complete ban on imported steel from China on the basis of alleged hacking attacks against U.S. Steel resulting in the theft of the company’s intellectual property.
China has been trying to curtail steel production by shutting down small producers and cutting production by 100 million to 150 million metric tons of annual production in the next five years. Companies controlled by the government are expected to cut 10% of production in the next two years.
China’s problem, however, is how to replace lost jobs from the cutback in steel production. The national government has offered up to $15 billion to offset lost wages due to production cuts. Because the U.S. imports only about 2% of China’s annual steel production, cutting off exports to the U.S. would not be a major drag on the industry.
Steel imports from China had a total value of just $2 billion in 2015 and cold-rolled steel account for about a tenth of that.
The government continues to encourage exports of Chinese steel and an expansion of the industry into foreign projects and facilities as part of its plan to restructure the country’s economy.