The United States Department of Commerce recently fixed its countervailing duty on POSCO’s hot-rolled steel sheets at 41.57 percent after the United States Court of International Trade told the department to recalculate it for lack of reasonable grounds. Earlier, the department imposed a countervailing duty of 56.68 percent on the same products in 2016.
South Korean steelmakers are not content with the downward adjustment. “With the price of the product falling in the United States, both 56.68 percent and 41.57 percent are burdensome,” said an industry insider. As of May 19, the price in the United States fell 30.3 percent in one year to US$620 per 907 kg.
The department is making an issue of other South Korean steelmakers as well, claiming that the product of POSCO is a main component of steel pipes supplied by multiple South Korean steelmakers. This month, the department levied tariffs of up to 32.24 percent on oil country tubular goods exported by Nexteel and SeAH Steel.
Until 2017, steel pipes used to be their key product accounting for almost half of their exports to the United States. However, the steel quota of the United States almost halved their steel pipe exports to the country to US$900 million or so last year.
With a high tariff rate remaining as it is, South Korean steelmakers are resorting to the next annual tariff review of the department. The result of the review is scheduled to be announced in the first half of this year. “In its recent preliminary determination ahead of the review, the department adjusted the duty to less than 2 percent, and we are counting on it,” said one of them.