The first exception item since the implementation of the U.S. quota on South Korean steel four months ago appeared on September 17 (local time), when the U.S. Department of Commerce accepted U.S.-based Mirco Stamping’s exception request with regard to SL Tech products.
Mirco Stamping has used SL Tech’s extremely thin steel tubes in medical equipment. SL Tech is a South Korean company producing syringe needles and the like. At present, it produces thin steel tubes using extremely thin cold-rolled stainless steel supplied by Poongsan Special Metal, which in turn uses POSCO’s hot-rolled stainless steel.
This case is the Commerce Department’s first item-specific exception regarding steel imports from South Korea. The exception is to impose no tariff on items undersupplied in the United States and allows zero-quota exports within a range determined by the department. Earlier, in May this year, the Donald Trump administration adopted a quota so that this year’s steel exports from South Korea to the U.S. cannot exceed 70% of the 2015-to-2017 average.
The first exception is expected to have a positive effect on POSCO and Hyundai Steel. POSCO AAPC, which is POSCO’s automotive steel sheet processing center located in Alabama, made an exception request early this month. Hyundai Steel USA made the same request with regard to its automotive steel sheets and tubes supplied to Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors and auto parts manufacturers.