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US mills just seeking to bully Turkish peers on imports

The antidumping petition filed by some domestic US steel mills against rebar imported from Turkey and Mexico hit the news headlines in early September. In addition to their claims of dumping of Turkish rebar at low prices in the US market, the US mills in question also allege that Turkish exporters have received subsidies and so they have requested a countervailing duty investigation for Turkish rebar as well. Well, if these mills had the power or were able to get away with it, it seems as if they would like rebar imports to the US to be banned completely. Fortunately, current laws and rules do not allow such action.

According to the US mills’ claims, Turkish rebar is imported to the US at prices with alleged dumping margins of 40 percent or more. My knowledge on these issues might not be quite up to date. However, as far as I remember, such a claim would mean that Turkish exporters should be selling rebar to the US at prices 40 percent below their production cost or 40 percent below their sales prices in the Turkish domestic market. Accordingly, Turkish exporters have been exporting their rebar to the US market at $600/mt even though their production cost is allegedly $1,000/mt. Or, they have continued to export rebar at $600/mt even though the domestic rebar sales price in Turkey is allegedly at the ridiculously high level of $1,000/mt. “I wish I had reason so I could believe,” as my father used to say. Seriously, besides the fantasy scenario regarding costs and domestic market prices in Turkey, does anybody really think the Turkish steel mills have gone nuts? So much for the understanding of the US producers in question of the concept of free trade!

The above calculations indicate the absurdity of the matter, but that’s not the point anyway. It looks like the aim is to get this petition accepted by the US DOC and for the investigation to begin. US mills will in this way be able to covertly bully rebar importers. Thus, they will be able to hinder rebar imports from Turkey and Mexico, or at least curb them. Most probably they will succeed in achieving their goal at least to a certain extent, as they did previously. In the meantime, rebar exporters in European countries will benefit from this situation.

In fact, this petition has not come as a surprise. SteelOrbis readers are well aware that we have been expecting this for the past 16-17 months. It should not be a surprise to the Turkish or Mexican steel mills either. All of them are very much used to US trade cases. The Turkish mills are probably more experienced in such trade cases, and we know that so far they have already taken some significant steps and prepared themselves. However, this case will surely have a certain cost for Turkish exporters, the extent of which remains to be seen.

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