South Korea opposes China anti-dumping probe on stainless steel

South Korea’s government and major steelmaker Posco both oppose China’s ongoing stainless steel anti-dumping investigation and claim that no trade measures should be imposed because Korean exports do not damage the Chinese domestic industry.

Hot-rolled stainless steel produced in South Korea has significantly different applications, materials and prices from those of Chinese products, thus there is no direct competition between the two markets, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement on Friday March 29.

Besides, most of the country’s shipments to China were supplied to Korean companies located in China, which has no relation to the damage to domestic Chinese mills, the ministry added.

South Korea’s criticism comes after China introduced a preliminary anti-dumping deposit on March 22 for stainless slab and stainless hot-rolled plate and coil imported from South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and the European Union. The deposit relates to China’s anti-dumping probe into those products, which is slated to end in July.

Chinese importers now have to pay a deposit of 23.1% for Posco’s products and 103.1% for other South Korean mills.

Posco and the ministry urged China to stop its investigation and not to impose any trade measures on South Korean stainless steel, according to the statement from March 29.

Last year in 2018, China imported a total of 726,363 tonnes of hot-rolled stainless products, according to Chinese customs data. About 159,100 tonnes or 22% of those volumes came from South Korea in 2018.

South Korea is also a major buyer of Chinese stainless steel exports – which totaled 134,705 tonnes in February – and accepted 29,926 tonnes or 22% of the total Chinese export figure in February.

China’s imports and exports of flat-rolled stainless steel shrank by nearly 50% year on year in February 2019 amid the anti-dumping probe.

China’s imports of flat-rolled stainless steel were at 85,788 tonnes in February 2019, which is down 44.4% year on year from 154,418 tonnes in February 2018.

Whereas China’s exports of flat-rolled stainless steel were at 134,705 tonnes in February 2019, which is down 44.6% year on year from 243,037 tonnes in February 2018.

Fastmarkets’ weekly import price assessment for benchmark 304 stainless trimmed hot-rolled coil in East Asia was $1,920-2,000 per tonne cif on March 27, unchanged week on week amid sparse trading in the region.