Taiwan starts trade probe into imports of Chinese steel

The Taiwanese authorities have initiated anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into imports of various Chinese steel products, as part of an attempt to be exempted from United States Section 232 import tariffs.

The anti-dumping probe involves Chinese imports of stainless hot-rolled and cold-rolled carbon steel, according to an April 17 statement by the territory’s Ministry of Finance.

Products under the countervailing investigation include galvanized and zinc-alloy flat-rolled steel, carbon steel plate, and stainless cold-rolled steel. Taiwan already has anti-dumping duties levied on these products from China.

Local mills in Taiwan often import Chinese flat steel products for coating and processing, before selling the value-added products to the US, a Taiwan-based trader told Metal Bulletin last week.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance determined on April 11 that there were reasonable grounds to suspect unfair trading practices, such as dumping and the subsidization of the Chinese imports, that could cause harm to Taiwan’s local steel industry.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs will notify the Ministry of Finance on the findings of the preliminary investigations within 40 days from April 16.

The probe comes shortly after rumors last week about Taiwan potentially imposing a blanket ban on all Chinese steel imports in the hope of being exempted from the US tariffs.

The territory’s stainless steel sector will be the hardest hit if any such trade measures are implemented, because Taiwan is the biggest importer of stainless steel products from China, market participants told Metal Bulletin.

The Taiwanese trade authorities are negotiating with the US government to gain permanent exemption from the 25% Section 232 tariff on steel imports.

The US has delayed the tariffs for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and South Korea. The temporary waivers will last until May 1, while negotiations take place for permanent exemptions.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said in late March that it was “disappointed” that the territory was not included on the list.