As Trump once so famously said, “We are going to win so much, you are going to be so sick and tired of winning.” And it appears that in pushing back against China’s violation of current steel trade agreements, the Trump Administration’s Department of Commerce (DOC) just may have saved some jobs in the rusty steel belts of Indiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania.
Steel Dynamics, Inc., one of the largest domestic steel producers and metals recyclers in the United States and Mexico, filed a petition with the DOC on September 22, 2016 claiming that the Chinese were circumventing trade laws by having its cold roll and corrosion resistant flat roll steel processed in Vietnam.
After a preliminary investigation, the DOC found that corrosion-resistant steel and certain cold roll steel products imported from Vietnam were, in fact, being produced from substrate originating in China, thereby allowing China to circumvent existing anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on steel imported from China.
Mark D. Millett, President and CEO of Steel Dynamics said, “We are very pleased that Secretary Ross is taking steps to aggressively enforce U.S. trade laws. Stopping the circumvention of enacted trade laws will ensure a level playing field for the domestic steel industry.”
Although Trump’s Department of Commerce may not have spearheaded any new legislation, it didn’t hesitate to bare its teeth and put some muscle behind current trade law. Under the Obama administration, imports of corrosion-resistant steel from Vietnam increased from $2 million to a whopping $80 million after preliminary duties were imposed on Chinese products in 2015. Likewise, shipments of cold roll steel from Vietnam to the United States increased from $9 million to $215 million. Clearly, something was amiss.
As we all know, laws are meaningless unless they are followed through with aggressive enforcement. Following its findings, the DOC has instructed U.S. customs to collect AD and CVD cash deposits on imports of CORE produced in Vietnam using Chinese-origin substrate at rates of 199.43% and 39.05% respectively. Customs will also collect AD and CVD cash deposits on imports of cold roll steel produced in Vietnam using Chinese-origin substrate at rates of 265.79% and 256.44%, respectively.
It’s another “yuge” win for hard working rust belt Deplorables. Reign well.