Brazil’s CSN to negotiate quotas to export slab, HRC and tinplate to the US

Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) is negotiating with authorities in the United States to obtain quotas to export slab, tinplate and “some volumes” of hot-rolled coil without tariffs linked to the Section 232 investigation.

Negotiations are at full steam, and [the US] will apply voluntary restraint agreements - country by country, CSN commercial executive director Luis Fernando Martinez said on Tuesday March 27.

If exempted, CSN’s hot-rolled coil exports would be sent for further rolling in the company’s US facility in the state of Indiana.

“Brazil will likely solve this [issue] in two or three weeks, eventually accepting quotas, like South Korea,” chief executive officer Benjamin Steinbruch said.

On Thursday March 22, the US government decided to delay imposing the 25% tariff on steel imports from Brazil and other countries. The suspension will last for a minimum period of 30 days while negotiations are ongoing.

Meanwhile, CSN is planning to divert to the Brazilian domestic market volumes of zinc-coated steel products it had been sending to the US, because the company expects the domestic market to continue improving.

“In 2017, we exported around 370,000 tonnes [of zinc-coated steel products] to the US that will return to the [Brazilian] local market this year,” Martinez said.

In total, CSN expects to sell 1.2 million tonnes of zinc-coated products to Brazilian buyers in 2018, compared with 818,000 tonnes last year, according to Martinez. CSN also expects shipment volumes to the domestic market to account for around 80-85% of total steel sales this year.

In the fourth quarter 2017, in contrast, the national market accounted for 61% of CSN’s total sales volumes.

“This is the year of the domestic market,” Martinez said.

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