The US Commerce Department announced today that it would impose punitive tariffs of up to 456 per cent on steel products from Taiwan and South Korea. After being produced in the country of origin, the steel products were shipped to Vietnam for minor processing and then exported to the United States to circumvent anti-dumping and countervailing duties, the Commerce Department said in a statement. The statement also said that the United States imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on South Korean and Taiwanese products in December 2015 and February 2016, respectively.
Since 2015, South Korea (accounting for 13 per cent of the total steel imports from the United States) and Taiwan (10 per cent of the total steel imports from the United States) have become the top eight major importers of steel in the United States. According to the US steel import situation in May 2019 reported by the American Iron and Steel Association (AISI) on 25 June, South Korea (1.287 million tons) is the first importer of steel in the United States, while Taiwan (436000 tons) is in the top five. Although Vietnam's exports to the United States are relatively limited to only 5 percent, since the United States began imposing anti-dumping duties in 2015, Vietnam has gradually become a transit point for places such as South Korea, Taiwan and China, with a surge in exports to the United States. According to the data, the number of corrosion-resistant and cold-rolled steel exported from Vietnam to the United States increased by 332% and 916%, respectively, compared with the previous period. Vietnam's steel exports rose 33 per cent year-on-year in the year to 2018. Based on this situation, the United States launched the punitive tariff collection in order to safeguard its own interests.
In terms of impact, as early as April 12, 2018, the United States imposed 6.75% anti-dumping duties on South Korea and other steel companies, some as high as 75.81%, in order to weaken South Korea's competitiveness in the US market. The re-introduction of anti-dumping duties will undoubtedly have a greater impact on South Korean steel exports, followed by Taiwan. China has reduced its steel exports to the United States year by year since 2015, while China's exports to the United States totaled 398000 tons in May. Gradually reduce its market share in the United States, at the same time, so far, China's steel exports to the United States accounted for a small proportion of China's total exports, the United States has become the 18th largest exporter of China. Therefore, the tariff increase has a greater impact on South Korea and Taiwan, but less on China.