The U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday it had made final findings in dumping and subsidy investigations of carbon and alloy steel wire rod sold in U.S. markets from Italy, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and Britain.
The decision, subject to a finding the imports hurt U.S. producers, will let Commerce impose tariffs of up to 147.63 percent for five years.
The action followed petitions filed last year on behalf of Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc of Florida, a unit of Metalurgica Gerdau SA, Nucor Corp of North Carolina, Keystone Consolidated Industries of Texas and Charter Steel of Wisconsin.
Wire rod is a hot-rolled intermediate steel product used in a variety of goods.
Exporters from Italy, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and Britain sold wire rod at 12.41 percent to 18.89 percent, 41.10 percent, 11.08 percent to 32.64 percent, 4.74 percent to 7.94 percent and 147.63 percent less than fair value, respectively, Commerce said in a statement.
It also found Italy and Turkey provided countervailable subsidies to producers at rates of 4.16 percent to 44.18 percent and 3.81 percent to 3.86 percent, respectively.
In 2016, imports of wire rod from Italy, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and Britain were estimated at $12.2 million (8.8 million pounds), $45.6 million, $40.7 million, $41.4 million and $20.5 million, respectively.
If the International Trade Commission finds the imports injure U.S. producers, the Commerce Department will impose the tariffs for five years. The ITC is due to make its determination around May 3.
In Italy, Ferriere Nord was assigned a dumping margin of 12.41 percent and a subsidy rate of 4.16 percent and Ferriera Valsider a dumping margin of 18.89 percent and a subsidy rate of 44.18 percent. All others were assigned a dumping margin of 12.41 percent and a subsidy rate of 4.16 percent.
South Korea's POSCO was assigned a dumping margin of 41.10 percent.
In Spain, Global Steel Wire, CELSA Atlantic and Compania Espanola de Laminacion were assigned dumping margins of 11.08 percent, ArcelorMittal Espana, a unit of ArcelorMittal, a margin of 32.64 percent, and all others 11.08 percent.
In Turkey, Habas Sinai ve Tibbi Gazlar Istihsal Endustrisi received a dumping margin of 4.74 percent, Icdas Celik Enerji Tersane ve Ulasim Sanayi a margin of 7.94 percent, and all others margins of 6.34 percent. Habas Sinai Ve Tibbi Gazlar Istih got a subsidy rate of 3.86 percent, Icdas Celik Eberji Tersane Ve Ulasim San a rate of 3.81 percent and all others a rate of 3.84 percent.
British Steel Ltd and Longs Steel UK Ltd were given dumping margins of 147.63 percent, as were all other U.K. exporters.
Meanwhile, by ignoring opposing voices, starting in his own office, then from around the world, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the act to impose 25 percent import tariffs of on steel and 10 percent on aluminum on March 8. The act has triggered global outrage and fears of a trade war that few had anticipated. The U.S. then exempted Canada and Mexico and offered the possibility of excluding other allies, backtracking from an earlier "no exceptions" stance.
Turkey, which is the seventh largest exporter of steel to the U.S. with $1.2 billion in 2017, is at a critical turning point. The Turkish steel sector will either enter through the door left open by Trump until March 23, the deadline for exemption negotiations, or stay out of the game in the U.S., one of the most important markets for steel exports.
According to the outcome of an assessment by Turkish steel sector representatives, "Turkey fulfills all of the conditions of the U.S. exemption. The Turkish steel sector should be exempted from the 25 percent tax." Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economy Mehmet Şimşek previously stressed that Trump's rhetoric of trade wars and his latest decision on the steel tariffs have made it clear that the world is on the eve of a global trade war.
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci earlier this month spoke with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on Trump's decision to implement additional customs duties on steel and aluminum imports, and the two reached a consensus that they should act together at the World Trade Organization (WTO).