Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced three preliminary affirmative circumvention rulings involving exports of steel products from Vietnam. The circumvention rulings cover certain steel products that are first produced in Korea and Taiwan, which are then shipped to Vietnam for minor processing, and finally exported to the United States as corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) and cold-rolled steel (CRS).
As a result of today’s affirmative circumvention determinations, Commerce will instruct Customs and Border Protection to begin collecting cash deposits on imports of corrosion-resistant steel products and cold-rolled steel produced in Vietnam using Korean- or Taiwanese-origin substrate. These duties will be imposed on future imports, and also on any unliquidated entries since August 2, 2018 (the date on which Commerce initiated these circumvention inquiries). The applicable cash deposit rates will be as high as 456.23 percent, depending on the origin of the substrate and the type of steel product exported to the United States.
U.S. law provides that Commerce may find circumvention of antidumping duty (AD) or countervailing duty (CVD) orders when merchandise that is the same class or kind as merchandise subject to existing orders is completed or assembled in a third country prior to importation into the United States.
Shipments of CORE from Vietnam to the United States increased from $22 million (in the 40-month period of September 2012 until preliminary duties imposed on South Korean and Taiwanese products in December 2015) to $933 million (40-month period from imposition of preliminary duties in January 2016 until April 2019), which is an increase of 4,076 percent. Additionally, shipments of CRS from Vietnam to the United States increased from $49 million (in the 38-month period of January 2013 until preliminary duties imposed on South Korean and Taiwanese products in February 2016) to $498 million (38-month period from imposition of preliminary duties in March 2016 until April 2019), which is an increase of 922 percent.
These inquiries were conducted pursuant to requests from U.S. domestic producers of CORE and CRS: Steel Dynamics, Inc. (IN), California Steel Industries (CA), AK Steel Corporation (OH), ArcelorMittal USA LLC (IN), Nucor Corporation (NC), and United States Steel Corporation (PA).
The strict enforcement of U.S. trade law is a primary focus on the Trump Administration. To date, the Trump Administration has issued 31 preliminary and/or final anti-circumvention determinations – this is a 417 percent increase from the number of preliminary and/or final circumvention determinations made during the comparable period in the previous administration.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade law and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international law and is based on factual evidence provided on the record.