EC may have cut countries from ADD investigation: sources

Serbia and Iran may have been removed from the European Commission’s investigation into hot rolled coil imports, according to sources attending the EUROMETAL Summit in Dusseldorf.

“The investigation is still ongoing. No decisions have been taken at this stage, so no comment from us at this point in time,” Kinga Malinowska, Press Officer for Trade at the European Commission, told S&P Global Platts via email Thursday.

Charles de Lusignan, Communications Manager at European steel producers’ association Eurofer, said the organization heard that Serbia could have been excluded, but had nothing to suggest this was the case for Iran.

When the European Commission said earlier this year it would not impose preliminary duties on imports from Brazil, Iran, Serbia, Russia and Ukraine, it said Serbia should not be cumulatively assessed with the other four countries: it was barely over the minimum market share threshold, at 1.04%, and average selling prices were considerably above the other countries in the investigation period, the commission said.

“It follows that protective measures are unnecessary with regard to the imports of HRF originating in Serbia,” the commission document, seen by Platts, said. At the time the commission also refused to comment on whether this meant Serbia had been excluded.

One legal source said Thursday it was evident from that document Serbia would be removed from the case. He also said the deadline for announcing definitive dumping duties could have been brought forward from October to August, though this could not be confirmed.

Serbia being removed from the case may have raised some eyebrows, as Chinese-owned mill HeSteel is said to be the most competitive player in the European market of late: recent offers have been heard at €470/mt delivered into south Germany and €485/mt delivered Ruhr, both of which are way below the €530-€540/mt ex-Ruhr level being quoted by western European mills.

Nevertheless, sources noted Serbia is a small player with limited volume impact, and many were surprised it was even named in the dumping investigation.

Most point to the reappearance of significant volumes of Russian HRC in the Antwerp import market as a more significant result of the European Commission’s decision not to impose preliminary anti-dumping duties. When announcing it would not impose duties, the EC said duties could have harmed end-users, as reported.

Peter Brennan, Annalisa Villa and Colin Richardson, S&P Global Platts