SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia will impose import duties on certain types of Chinese steel to protect domestic steelmakers from a flood of surplus product being exported by the world’s top producer of the metal, the government announced on Saturday.
The move had been called for last year by Australian steel and mining company Arrium - before it went in to administration - and comes as a number of national trade regulators push back against an oversupply of cheap steel from Chinese mills.
Despite Beijing’s efforts to cut surplus Chinese steel capacity and pressure from other countries to cut exports, China’s steel output rose to a record in March while its steel shipments rose 30 percent from a year ago.
Australia’s industry minister, Christopher Pyne, said in a statement on Saturday that the duties, which apply to steel reinforcing bar, or rebar, and rod in coil, would give Australia’s domestic producers a level playing field.
“It’s only reasonable that our manufacturers compete in a fair market,” Mr Pyne said.
Duties of between 11.7 per cent and 57 per cent will apply, depending on the exporting company and the type of steel. The duties were adopted on the recommendation of Australia’s Anti-Dumping Commission.
Arrium referred the matter to the commission in 2015, arguing that cheap steel imports - mostly produced by Hunan Valin Xiangtan Iron and Steel [HUNANA.UL] and the Jiangsu Shagang Group [JSSGG.UL] - were hurting its business.
The Anti-Dumping Commission found China’s steel had been exported at prices below manufacturing costs and had caused “material injury” to the Australian steel industry.
Arrium went into voluntary administration earlier this month.
Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Tom Hogue
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