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US self-initiates circumvention probe of CORE steel from 5 countries

Pittsburgh — The US Department of Commerce on Wednesday self-initiated an investigation into possible circumvention regarding certain corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) made with substrate from China or Taiwan, completed in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malaysia, South Africa and the UAE, which are then exported to the US.

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The investigation marks the first time Commerce has self-initiated a circumvention inquiry based on its own monitoring of trade patterns, as well as the first self-initiation of a multi-country circumvention inquiry. Typically circumvention inquiries are launched in response to allegations filed by a domestic industry.

Commerce's intent is to see whether exports of CORE from the five named counties are circumventing the existing antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty orders on CORE from China and the AD order on CORE from Taiwan.

If Commerce preliminarily determines that circumvention is occurring, it will instruct Customs and Border Protection to begin collecting cash deposits on imports of CORE completed in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malaysia, South Africa, and the UAE using Chinese-origin substrate, and CORE completed in Malaysia using Taiwanese-origin substrate.

Shipments of CORE from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malaysia, South Africa, and the UAE to the US increased in value by 29,210%, 35,944%, 151,216%, 629%, and 5,571%, respectively, comparing import data from the 45-month period before and after the initiations of the original AD/CVD investigations on Chinese and Taiwanese CORE, according to Commerce.

US imports of CORE from China are subject to an AD cash deposit rate of 199.43% and a CVD rate of 39.05%, while imports of CORE from Taiwan are subject to dumping margins of 2.15%-4.9%.

Commerce in May 2018 issued a final determination that CORE imports from Vietnam made with Chinese substrate were circumventing the existing AD and CVD duties on Chinese material. In July the department issued an affirmative preliminary determination in a separate circumvention inquiry involving imports of CORE from Vietnam made using substrate from South Korea and Taiwan.

-- Justine Coyne, justine.coyne@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Tom Balcerek, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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