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UK's TRA starts transition review of Chinese plate

25 Jan 2022 09:39 GMT
UK's TRA starts transition review of Chinese plate

London, 25 January (Argus) — The UK Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) has initiated a transition review of steel anti-dumping duties on Chinese plate.

The review will decide whether duties are still necessary after the EU measure was transitioned after the UK exited the EU. The TRA has to start its transition reviews before the initial EU measures expire, which in the case of Chinese plate is February-March this year.

The investigation period for the TRA review is 1 January-21 December, to assess injury between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2021. During the investigation period China sold 477t into the UK and has never been a large participant in the UK import market. Liberty Steel and Metinvest-owned Spartan are the domestic producers.

The UK government has been under pressure from unions and others to protect domestic suppliers, after it emerged that foreign steel had been purchases for public projects. But even at its peak in 2015, when China was exporting over 112mn t of steel into the global steel market, it only accounted for 13pc of UK plate imports.

There is a transition review already under way on Chinese rebar, with a statement of essential facts likely in the summer. Major domestic producer Celsa owns around 50pc of the downstream fabrication market. Liberty also produces a limited range of bar at its Thrybergh mill in Yorkshire.

When Celsa was acquiring domestic fabricators — such as BRC, Express and ROM — in 2008-09, it argued that it would be unable to deny its rivals access to inputs because of other sources, such as domestic producer Thamesteel, which went bankrupt and exited the market many years ago.

For independent fabricators there also has been a reduction in certification body Cares-approved sources of rebar because of dumping duties and the UK safeguard. They argue the safeguard gives them insufficient access to sustainable product, especially given the likely increase in demand from infrastructure projects, such as high-speed rail 2 from London to the north of England. The economic interests of the UK, including impact on competition, are considered in dumping and transition reviews, a TRA representative said.

European measures on Chinese rebar lapsed with little fanfare last year. It sold just 3,514t into the EU during January-November.

With EU anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on Chinese hot-rolled coil (HRC) to lapse in the next few months, although they will most likely be reviewed at the request of European steel producers' association Eurofer, the TRA also needs to start its review of HRC.