EU threatens to impose tariffs on steel from China

Once again, no one is dealing with the problem that small and medium manufacturers have, that is, if you tarif the raw materials but not the finished goods, they get around the tarifs by supplying the finished product, a flashlight, whatever, at below our costs for the raw materials.

International Herald Tribune
The EU began an inquiry into whether Chinese exporters, including Baoshan Iron & Steel and Wuhan Iron & Steel, sell flat-rolled steel in the EU below cost, a practice known as dumping. The inquiry covers €1.2 billion, or $1.7 billion, of imports of hot-dipped metallic-coated steel.

The investigation will determine whether the steel “is being dumped and whether this dumping has caused injury,” the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, said in the Official Journal.

The commission has nine months to decide whether to impose provisional anti-dumping duties for half a year and EU governments have 15 months to decide whether to apply “definitive” levies for five years.

Here’s another, similar article, from the Toronto Star, a local (to Toronto) newspaper.

EU officials have warned of a protectionist backlash if China doesn’t do more to open up to European exports. They’ve also asked that Beijing address the valuation of the yuan, which they say gives Chinese exporters an unfair price advantage.

Canadian/American currency exchange

I haven’t written about currency issues here. Mostly I write about general stamping issues. This posting is written more from a Canadian stamping perspective.

The drop in value of the US $ is really starting to hurt us Canadian manufacturers.

On the one hand, it’s nice to get your raw materials cheaper. For instance, copper isn’t hurting us nearly as much as you might think, since it’s basically valued in US $ and we’re buying it in Canadian.

On the other hand, exports are a big part of our economy. It’s hard to say, even for an individual company, what fraction of sales are exported, because not all are direct exports. Some products, especially small metal parts, the area we’re in, get combined with other things by another canadian company before being exported to the US.

But sales to the US are hurting. If we keep the US$ price, we are losing our markup. If we ask for the Canadian price, it varies from one shipment to the next, an unfamiliar situatior for most american customers, who reject the idea. Even if they don’t, it prices us out of the market when compared to similarly qualified US suppliers.

It’s going to be an intesting ride …

Area lawmakers testify to keep tariffs on Chinese steel; Nucor called a victim

I don’t understand why anyone thinks it makes sense to impose tarifs on the raw materials coming from China and not the finished goods made from the same raw materials coming from China. All this does is cut the entire food chain out of North America and shift it all to China. Why don’t the steelmakers see it as shortsighted to cut off the legs of their customers? Why don’t the lawmakers see it either?

Nucor Corp. and other U.S. steelmakers are the victims of China’s illegal subsidization of exported steel, lawmakers testified Tuesday.

In the first day of a two-day hearing, dozens of lawmakers argued that the U.S. International Trade Commission should renew five-year punitive tariffs on hot-rolled flat carbon steel imported from China and 10 other countries. China was the main target.

China Currency Coalition

Every once in a while, I like to give a plug to the China Currency Coalition. They sure seem to be fighting an uphill battle (although I’m baffled as to why their point of view isn’t making itself in the eyes of the public and legislators).

Their basic premise is that Chinese currency manipulation is unfair. Well, of course it is. It’s also illegal under various statutes and international obligations. I’m no lawyer, so I’ll leave that one to the lawyers.

I can tell you this. Currency manipulation was rampant during the second world war war, and it was used as a weapon of war. That’s pretty serious. So why don’t we take these things seriously now?