Thailand launches safeguard probe on imports of hot rolled flats

Thailand’s ministry of commerce has initiated a safeguard investigation on imports of hot rolled coil, sheet and plate.

Paragraph entered by Atlantic migration, in order for SteelFirst articles to display correctly on Metal Bulletin.

The case was opened on January 31 following a petition by the country’s largest hot rolled flat steel producers – Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI), G Steel, G J Steel and Sahaviriya Plate Mill – according to a document published by the World Trade Organization.

Imports of the investigated products had “increased significantly” in Thailand, by 62% in 2011 and by a further 146% in 2012, the WTO document showed.

“More recently, the volume of imports in the first nine months of 2013 had increased by 305% in comparison with the volume of imports in the same corresponding period in 2012,” WTO said, citing figures presented by the petitioners.

A preliminary assessment found that the increased imports have caused “serious injury” to the domestic industry in the form of a decrease in the share of the local market, sales, and level of employment, as well as financial losses.

The four petitioners account for 96.97% of the total production of the affected products in Thailand.

Products being investigated are “non-alloy hot rolled steel flat products in coils and not in coils”, with thicknesses of 0.9-50mm and widths of 600-3,048mm, according to the document.

A safeguard investigation seeks to determine whether increased imports of a product are causing, or is threatening to cause, serious injury to a domestic industry. A WTO member may take a safeguard action, such as restricting the import of a product temporarily, only if it finds a case against such imports. Any safeguard measures undertaken are generally applied on a non-selective basis.

Indonesia recently started a safeguard investigation on imports of some hot rolled bars and rods.