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Steel shipments to U.S. rise 17.7 percent on-year in 2017: KITA

All News 11:39 January 07, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports of steel products to the United States posted a two-digit growth in 2017 from a year earlier, industry data showed Sunday, amid growing pressure from the U.S. government to impose anti-dumping tariffs.

The Donald Trump administration has invoked Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, a rarely used tool that allows emergency trade sanctions on "national security" grounds in an apparent precursor to fresh trade barriers to foreign steel imports.

While on the campaign trail in 2016, Trump has said steel is a big problem.

In April last year, Trump ordered a probe into whether steel imports undermined U.S. national security.

The U.S. Commerce Department is set to bring the outcome of the probe to the White House by Jan. 14.

Shipments of steel goods rose 17.7 percent on-year to US$3.4 billion during the first 11 months last year, according to the statistics by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

In terms of the amount of shipments, the figure shrank 4.9 percent during the same time span.

The discrepancy is due to the rising prices of oil country tubular goods (OCTG), one of the fastest growing sectors in the pipelines market and South Korean producers enjoyed a boom in the U.S. oil and gas industry.

The U.S. Commerce Department slapped 46 percent of tariffs on South Korean OCTGs in October.

South Korean officials have said they will actively tackle any unfair trade barriers that can be imposed on South Korean products by foreign countries, including filing complaints with the World Trade Organization (WTO), noting South Korean steel companies have actually been serving the U.S. economy by investing in facilities and employing people.

Trade Minister Paik Un-gyu said in July the U.S. has slapped excessive anti-dumping and countervailing duties on South Korean steel products at a time when they are neither being dumped nor benefiting from government subsidies.

In November, South Korea won a case at the WTO against the U.S. over anti-dumping duties that Washington slapped on South Korean steel pipes.

In July 2014, the U.S. Commerce Department levied 9.9 percent to 15.8 percent anti-dumping duties on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) imports from Hyundai Steel, Nexteel, Seah Steel Corp. and Husteel.

Five months later, South Korea submitted an appeal with the WTO against the tariff, arguing that the U.S. calculation of margins for Korean products was not "reasonable" when compared with the rate of global profit margins.

The WTO dispute settlement panel sided with Seoul's claim that the U.S. incorrectly applied the term "same general category of products" in determining the tariffs for OCTG products and didn't use the actual profit data.

Steel shipments to U.S. rise 17.7 percent on-year in 2017: KITA - 1


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