As global trade tension mounted, stainless steel products from China came under greater scrutiny. SMM summarised recent investigations and tariffs for the first half of 2018.
China’s exports of stainless steel grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.37% during 2009-2017. Exports in 2017 increased 0.41% on the year to a record high of 3.95 million mt. According to the China Special Steel Enterprises Association’s stainless steel branch, China exported 1.02 million mt of stainless steel in the first quarter of 2018, up 123,000 mt or 13.7% from the same period last year.
China produced 25.77 million mt of stainless steel in 2017, or 53.6% of the total output globally.The second and third largest producers were Japan and the US.
Investigations by Europe, US
United States: The Department of Commerce launched an anti-dumping and countervailing probe into the imports of Chinese and Indian stainless steel flanges on September 6, 2017, in response to an application by the Coalition of American Flange Producers and its members that was filed on August 16, 2017. The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) issued on September 29, 2017 a preliminary determination of material injury to the American industry.
According to US statistics, the import value of these Chinese products stood at $16.3 million in 2016.
On January 17, the commerce department announced anti-dumping duties of 174.73% on Chinese producers of stainless steel flanges. Affected Chinese producers include Both Well, Jiangyin Shengda Brite Line Kasugai Flange and Qingdao I-Flow.
The USITC made a final determination of material injury to the American industry and will implement tariffs on Chinese imports of stainless steel flanges on July 13. The duties apply to products with the HS codes of 7307.21.1000 and 7307.21.5000.
European Union: The EU announced on March 6 that the 48.3% and 71.9% anti-dumping taxes on Chinese seamless stainless steel tubes would remain in place for the next five years. These tariffs were introduced in December 2011 after an anti-dumping investigation was launched in September 2010.
Investigations by South-east Asian countries
Malaysia: The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) proposed taxes on cold-rolled stainless steel imports from mainland China, South Korea and Thailand. MITI also considered tariffs on Taiwanese imports, from the current zero to 14.02%.
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan topped the list exporters to Malaysia for cold-rolled stainless steel with 30-40% during 2012-2016. Taiwan accounted for 40% of the exports to Malaysia in the first nine months of 2017. The value of exports dropped 60% to $6.89 million.
Vietnam: The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) will continue to impose anti-dumping duties on stainless steel products from mainland China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan between July 20, 2018 and October 6, 2019. Tax rates will be the same as those between May 14, 2016 and July 19, 2018.
Rates stand at 25.35% for Chinese producers, and at 17.47% for Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel. Rates for Indonesia stand at 13.03%, and 6.64% for PT Jindal. Malaysia faces a rate of 9.31%. Taiwan’s tax rate is at 13.79%, and those for Yuan Long are at 37.29%.
Investigations by Taiwan
Taiwan had mulled an embargo on stainless steel from mainland China before the end of April, as the US could impose a 25% tariff on various Taiwanese imports by then.
SMM had previously lowered the forecast of exports of stainless steel to Taiwan to 550,000 mt from 800,000 mt in 2018, as Taiwan was expected to increase imports from Indonesia. The drop may be more significant if Taiwan issues a strict ban.
There are two types of stainless steel that could be subject to lower or no duties – those that will be used in Taiwan or sold to non-US countries and special steel that is produced only in China.
China’s exports of stainless steel to Taiwan accounted for 20% of the national total in recent years.
Tariffs by South American countries
Colombia: The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MCIT) announced on March 22 that Colombia will levy a 132% tariff on stainless steel sinks from China (HS code 7324.10.00.00). The tariffs will remain effective for five years.
Argentina: The Ministry of Production imposed a 48% tariff on Chinese imports of stainless steel tableware with wooden and plastic handles, for five years effective on April 26.