SHANGHAI, May 17 (SMM) - Protectionist measures have been erected around the world since 2015, as many countries had launched anti-dumping investigations over Chinese steel products. Recently, Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) announced to levy anti-dumping duties of 6.98-20.2% on polymer coated plate products originating from China. US, launching the most trade sanctions on Chinese steel products, also decided to initiate anti-dumping probes on cold-drawn steel pipe/tube from China.
China’s steel exports have been falling since 2015 in the face of growing numbers of anti-dumping investigations by foreign countries.
“Those probes will ratchet up the pressure on Chinese steel exports in 2017, but the impact will be small,” SMM steel analyst projects.
The initiation of anti-dumping investigations is one of reasons behind the decline in Chinese steel exports, but is not the major one, SMM analyst adds.
The major reasons are as follows. First, continuous rises in steel prices in China’s domestic market weakened price competitiveness of Chinese steel producers in export market. Second, domestic steel mills were able to make higher profits from domestic sales than overseas exports. Third, some domestic integrated steel mills increased domestic supply after China’s action to eliminate intermediate frequency furnaces.
Another analyst from SMM adds that domestic steel mills prefer to sell goods in domestic market when domestic prices were acceptable as overseas buyers asked for lower prices significantly. If domestic steel prices keep falling, domestic steel mills will likely increase exports to ease sales pressures from domestic market. With growing anti-dumping measures by foreign countries, domestic steel mills will no doubt face growing export pressures, and this will also weigh down steel prices.
According to export data, Asian countries are major export destinations of Chinese steel products. While anti-dumping measures grew, Chinese steel exports to Asian countries increased. Eyes should be paid to trade policies by Asian countries on Chinese steel products.
Wang Hejun, Head of Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce, said May 12 that intensive trade remedy investigations on imported steel products by US have raised high attention from member states of World Trade Organization.
Wang emphasized that China always opposed the abuse of trade remedy measures. "Those protectionism measures will not ease the so-called industrial damage alleged by the US petitioners, and import restrictions will be also harmful to US importers and downstream industries," said Wang.