The US market accounted for 4% of the company’s steel exports in 2017 and to only 1% of its foreign sales in the fourth quarter of last year.
In 2017, Usiminas’s total steel exports came to 585,000 tonnes, compared with sales to the Brazilian local market of 3.44 million tonnes.
“Although we are not directly [affected] in the short term by these [tariffs], Usiminas vehemently repudiates this type of measure, which damages the global free trade and Brazil’s interests,” the company said.
On Thursday, US president Donald Trump confirmed his previously announced tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium imports into the US.
After the announcement of the trade measures, the Brazilian government and national steel institute Aço Brasil said they would decide whether to “immediately file an appeal” with the US government against its “extreme” decision to impose a 25% duty on steel imports.
Usiminas said that previous tariffs imposed by the US had already affected its exports, forcing it to look for new markets in Europe and Latin America.
In July 2016, the US Commerce Department set a final countervailing duty of 11.09-11.31% for Brazilian exports of cold-rolled coil, while anti-dumping margins were set at 14.43%-35.43%.
And in August 2016, the US imposed a countervailing duty of 11.09-11.30% against imports of hot-rolled coil (HRC) from Brazil, as well as anti-dumping margins of 33.14-34.28%, effectively closing the market to Brazilian steel, according to market participants.
The 25% import tariffs imposed by the United States government are not expected have a “relevant impact” on Usiminas’s sales, the Brazilian flat steel producer told Metal Bulletin on Friday March 9.