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US trade body confirms damage by steel imports from Taiwan

WASHINGTON -- The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) ruled Monday that the U.S. steel industry has been materially injured by non-oriented electrical steel (NOES) imports from Taiwan and several other countries, which means that a probe into the case will continue.

In a statement, the USITC said the damage was caused as Taiwan, China and South Korea have allegedly sold NOES in the U.S. market at less than fair value, while the injury was also the result of alleged subsidies provided by the governments in the three countries.

In addition to Taiwan, China and South Korea, the USITC has accused Germany, Japan, and Sweden of dumping NOES into the U.S. market, causing substantial damage to the U.S. steel industry.

NOES is cold-rolled and flat-rolled alloy steel that is used in the machine tool industry and in electricity generator production.

In November, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) launched an investigation into alleged dumping of electrical steel sales from the six countries and into alleged improper subsidies provided by the governments in Taiwan, China and South Korea.

After confirmation of material damage by the USITC, the DOC will continue its investigation and is scheduled to issue a preliminary countervailing duty determination around Jan. 10, with a preliminary ruling on anti-dumping duties expected around March 26.

The DOC's investigation started in response to a complaint filed by AK Steel Corp., a steel supplier based in Ohio. The investigation targets Taiwan's China Steel Corp. (中鋼) and Leicong Industry Co. (麗鋼工業).

According to the accusation from the U.S. complainant, Taiwan's government has provided tax breaks for NOES research and development as well as brand-building and preferential tariff status on purchases of production equipment.

The two Taiwanese steel exporters have been accused of taking advantage of government subsidies to sell their products at unfairly low prices in the U.S. market, the complainant said.

It is the first time in 27 years Taiwan's steel makers have been targeted by an investigation of the U.S. government on alleged government subsidies.

According to the DOC, Taiwan's NOES exports to the U.S. reached US$17.25 million last year, which made up only a tiny fraction of Taipei's total sales of US$32.98 billion to the U.S. in that year.

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