By Paul Ploumis
June 05, 2017 02:30:00 AM
SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): A recent press release issued by the Latin American Steel Association (Alacero) has warned against rise in unfair trade of steel products into the region’s steel market. The press release cites unfair trade such as dumping and subsidies as the key challenge faced by Latin American steel market. Under these circumstances, steel firms and trade associations are urged to implement closer watch on unfair trade and work closely with customers in order to defend their markets.
According to Alacero press release, the number of unfair trade investigations has reported sharp surge during recent years, which itself is a clear indication of the rising unfair trade practices. Across the world, 242 dumping and subsidy investigations have been launched in steel products over the past six years. Out of this, 110 investigations had China as the target. The Latin American region launched 59 investigations during this period, of which 39 were against China. Currently, 14 investigations are in process.
Despite increased number of investigations, the unfair trade practices still remain. Alacero notes that countries and companies are found to seek alternative routes for export of products bypassing the terms of the investigation. For instance, the Government of Canada had conducted and solved an investigation on Fabricated Industrial Steel Components. The main input for these structures is steel plates, for which the government of Canada has imposed antidumping duties. Under these circumstances, countries such as South Korea and China switched to export of Fabricated Industrial Steel Components so as to bypass the duties on steel plate products.
The steel imports by the Latin American region totaled 142 thousand tons, significantly higher by over 18% when compared with 120 thousand tons during 2015. The Chinese share of total imports by the region more than doubled from 17% in 2015 to 35% in 2016. The US and Spain accounted for 18% and 15% market share respectively in 2016. Mexico was the leading importer of steel products during the four-year period from 2013 to 2016. The steel products imports by the country totaled 239 thousand tons during this period. The other key importing countries were Venezuela (135 thousand tons), Brazil (87 thousand tons), Panama (45 thousand tons) and Chile (42 thousand tons).
The latest statistics published by the steel trade body indicates that imports represented 34% of Latin American finished steel consumption during the first quarter of 2017. The region imported 5.6 Mt of finished steel during the quarter. Out of this, 3.7 Mt were flat products, 1.7 Mt were long products and the remaining 134,000 mt were seamless tubes. Also, crude steel production by Latin America and the Caribbean totaled 15.2 million tonnes (Mt) in Jan-Mar ’17. The finished steel production during the quarter rose 3% to 12.8 Mt. The apparent finished steel usage by the region surged higher by 7% over the year to 16.6 Mt during the quarter.
Alacero is the organization that brings together the steel value chain of Latin America. Established in 1959, the organization comprises of 49 companies in 12 different countries, whose combined production of nearly 70 million tons represents nearly 95% of the steel manufactured in the region.