On February 1, 2019, the American Institute of Steel Construction, LLC (AISC) filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (Commission) seeking antidumping duties (ADD) and countervailing (CVD) duties on imports of fabricated structural steel (FSS) products from Canada, Mexico and the People’s Republic of China. FSS products are steel products that have been fabricated for assembly or installation into a structure and are intended to provide structural support and to ensure that a structure can bear certain loads or weight. According to the AISC, FSS imports from these countries have been dumped and subsidized, capturing U.S. market share directly from the domestic industry, which is represented by the AISC, causing material injury and threatening to cause further material injury to the domestic industry if ADD and CVD are not imposed.

FSS products covered in the petition include angles, columns, beams, plates, hollow structural shapes, channels and other steel products that have been fabricated into articles suitable for erection or assembly into a variety of structures (e.g., buildings, industrial and utility projects, parking decks, arenas and convention centers, medical facilities and ports, transportation and infrastructure facilities). Typical fabrication processes include cutting, drilling, welding, joining, bolting, bending, punching, pressure fitting, molding, adhesion and other finishing processes. The targeted FSS products are imported under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings 7308.90.9590, 7308.90.3000, 7308.90.6000, 7216.91.0010, 7216.91.0090, 7216.99.0010, 7216.99.0090, 7228.70.6000, 7301.10.0000, 7301.20.1000, 7301.20.5000, 7308.40.0000, 7308.90.9530 and 9406.90.00300.

The AISC is claiming injury from these alleged unfairly priced and subsidized imports, stating that “between 2015 and 2017, and throughout 2018,” FSS imports surged into the United States and captured market share at the direct expense of the domestic industry. These imports from Canada, China and Mexico allegedly entered the U.S. market in such large and increasing quantities by offering prices well below those of domestically produced FSS, forcing domestic producers to lower prices and leaving them in a vulnerable position. The AISC alleges these FSS imports surged into the U.S. market, increasing by more than 20 percent despite an increase in apparent domestic consumption of only 7.9 percent. As a result, the AISC argues in its petition that these FSS imports increased their market share, growing from 18.5 percent in 2015 to 20.4 percent in 2017. The petition also alleges substantial government subsidies, including provision of major inputs for less than adequate remuneration, tax reductions and exemptions, preferential loans, grants, preferential tax rates and export financing.

The petition lists a large number of foreign producers and exporters that shipped FSS products to the United States at allegedly dumped and subsidized prices from these three countries and the U.S. importers of those products.

Commerce will determine by March 1 whether to formally initiate the investigations and, if it does, the Commission will decide within 25 days after that whether there is a reasonable indication of existing material injury or threat of material injury to the FSS domestic industry that will require continuation of the investigation.

Thompson Hine is monitoring this matter closely. For additional information or to obtain a copy of the petition, please contact us.