WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - Imported carbon and alloy steel wire rod from China could injure the local industry, U.S. trade officials found on Friday, potentially opening the door to duties on the products.
U.S. producers had complained about increasing imports of very cheap Chinese wire rod, used for fencing, nails, barbed wire and rope. They said the rod was being sold at 100 to 110 percent below fair market value and Chinese producers benefited from government subsidies.
The decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission means the Commerce Department will now continue with its investigation into whether the products are being sold in the United States below their fair value, or if their manufacturers receive inappropriate levels of subsidies, and suggest duties.
The commissioners voted that there was a reasonable indication of injury, following a complaint brought by companies including ArcelorMittal USA LLC, Nucor Corporation , Charter Steel, Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel and Gerdau Ameristeel.
Imports from China rose from 144 tons in 2011 to over 614,000 tons in 2013, the companies said in their request for an investigation.
The Department of Commerce said that in 2013 imports of carbon and certain alloy steel wire rod from China were valued at an estimated $313 million. Commerce is due to make a preliminary ruling on subsidies by April 28 and dumping by July 10.