The United States’ commerce department found that Chinese companies had sold surplus steel below cost in the US, ordering import duty increases of 522 per cent for cold-rolled steel.
Sky News reports that US steel industry representatives claim the market has been distorted by dumped products, and it has had to make 12,000 jobs redundant in the last year due to this.
Exports of cold-rolled steel from China to the USA were worth $US 272.3 million last year.
An editorial on the BBC website notes that the ruling was “only directed at what is a small amount of steel”, though the issue is a sensitive one, politically. US presidential candidates have intensified their rhetoric against what they claim is unfair behaviour by China’s steel exporters.
“US steel makers say that the Chinese government unfairly subsidises its steel exports,” it reads.
“Meanwhile China has been under pressure to save its steel sector, which is suffering from over-capacity issues because of slowing demand at home.”
According to Reuters, China’s finance ministry responded to the duty increase by saying the tax rebate policy to local steelmakers would continue.
“The United States adopted many unfair methods during the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese products, including the refusal to grant Chinese state-owned firms a differentiated tax rate,” said the Chinese commerce ministry, conveying its “strong dissatisfaction” with it US counterpart.
The Group of 7 nations will meet next month in Japan to discuss the steel glut.