(Reuters) - Four U.S. steel producers will file petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department charging Chinese producers with diverting shipments through Vietnam to avoid American import tariffs, a law firm representing one of the domestic producers said on Thursday.
ArcelorMittal USA, Nucor Corp, AK Steel Holdings Corp and United States Steel Corp are filing the petition, said Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, the law firm representing ArcelorMittal.
The U.S. Commerce Department last week set preliminary antidumping duties ranging from 63.86 percent to 76.64 percent on stainless steel sheet and strip imports from China after preliminary findings showed the imports were being dumped in the U.S. market at below fair value.
The petition alleges that Chinese producers diverted their steel shipments to Vietnam “immediately” after the duties were imposed.
According to the petition, Chinese steelmakers sent their shipments to Vietnam, where they were modified to make them corrosion-resistant, and then sent them to the United States by paying Vietnam’s U.S. tariff rate, which is lower than for China.
The U.S. producers are requesting the agency to inquire into the issue and suspend imports of corrosion-resistant steel and cold-rolled steel imported from Vietnam, said the statement from Kelley Drye & Warren.
“This type of behavior is becoming more frequent, so it is important that the U.S. Government send a strong message that circumvention of our trade laws will not be tolerated,” the law firm said, citing a counsel for domestic petitioners.
Nucor is being represented by law firm Wiley Rein LLP, AK Steel by King & Spalding LLP, and United States Steel by Quinn Emanuel LLP.
Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney