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US to probe dumping by Taiwan firms, others

WASHINGTON --- The U.S. Department of Commerce said Thursday that it will launch an investigation into allegations that steel nail exporters in Taiwan and six other countries dumped products in the U.S. market and benefited from unfair subsidies.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by U.S.-based Mid Continent Steel & Wire Inc. with the department and the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in late May, accusing Taiwan, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Turkey and Vietnam of selling steel nails at unfairly low prices.

Mid Continent Steel also complained that nail exporters in the seven countries received subsidies from their governments through tax breaks or other means, causing unfair competition.

The U.S. imposes anti-dumping duties against companies found selling, or dumping, their products in the U.S. below market value, and countervailing duties are imposed to offset “unfair subsidization” of products sold to the U.S. market.

Countervailing duty investigations by the U.S. against Taiwan have been fairly rare, with none occurring from 1987 to 2012.

Last year, the Commerce Department and the USITC conducted countervailing duty probes into Taiwanese steel makers which exported non-oriented electrical steel (NOES), largely used in machine tools and electricity generators, to the U.S. market.

Following the NOES investigation, the Commerce Department issued a preliminary ruling in March in which it imposed a countervailing duty of 12.82 percent against Leicong Industrial Co. and a 6.41 percent duty against other Taiwanese NOES exporters.

As for the steel nail complaint, the Commerce Department said Mid Continent Steel has requested a 78.17 percent anti-dumping duty against Taiwanese steel nail exporters but did not specify what the suspected subsidy rate was.

The Commerce Department said that if the USITC rules July 14 that the steel nail exporters from the seven countries imposed material injury to the U.S. industry, the department will issue a preliminary countervailing duty ruling August 22 and another preliminary ruling on anti-dumping duties November 5.

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