In an about-turn from a recent interim recommendation, the UK’s Trade Remedies Authority has proposed to keep anti-dumping measures of between 18.4% and 22.5% on imports of steel rebar from China, the authority stated Sept. 30.
The measures are applicable on imports of high fatigue performance steel concrete reinforcement bars from China into the UK that are typically used in the construction industry, it said.
The TRA has changed its original proposal to abolish the duties due to the availability of additional data and economic forecasts since the July publication of a Statement of Essential Facts (SEF) and receipt of new responses from participants in the trade case, it said. The TRA no longer considers that keeping the measures in place would result in supply issues for HFP Rebar.
In July 2016, definitive anti-dumping duties on the product were imposed by the European Commission, and the TRA’s recent review of the product’s status is a transition review, initiated in April 2021, following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the SEF noted.
The EC, however, allowed the EU’s anti-dumping measures on the Chinese HFP rebars to expire in July 2021 without review.
The TRA was formally and legally established in 2021 as an independent arm’s-length body of the UK’s Department for International Trade, or DIT.
In a statement issued Sept. 30 detailing the reasons for the TRA’s about-turn on its previous recommendation, the TRA said that the likelihood of dumping and injury occurring from the imports continues, and therefore it is recommending to keep the current anti-dumping amount.
The TRA had previously “identified a risk that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may lead to a shortfall in supply of HFP Rebar in the UK as a result of a significant reduction in imports from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, which have historically been significant sources of HFP Rebar for the UK market,” it said in a public notice. “The import data, which has become available since the publication of the SEF, shows that imports from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus have fallen as anticipated; however, these have been replaced by imports from other countries such as Portugal, Spain and Turkey.”
In addition, recent forecasts for the construction sector and the UK economy as a whole now indicate that demand for HFP rebar is unlikely to rise as previously anticipated. As a result, the continuation of the anti-dumping duties on Chinese imports would not have any significant impact on supplies to the UK’s construction industry, it said.
“New evidence suggests that international supply has proven to be more resilient than we anticipated and the forecasts for demand look weaker,” the TRA said in the public notice. “We no longer consider undersupply of HFP Rebar to be likely. We, therefore, conclude that maintaining the measure is in the economic interests of the UK.”
Import data from the UK’s tax and customs body HMRC shows that imports of rebar into the UK from all origins rose over January-May to around 230,000 mt, up from around 170,000 mt and 200,000 mt in the same period of 2021 and 2019, respectively, before the impact of COVID-19. Imports were just under 150,000 mt in January-May 2020, a period when the market was impacted by COVID-19, the data showed.
UK importers of the Chinese rebars were cited in the original 2016 EC decision to impose duties as CMC Ltd, Eurosteel Ltd and Ronly Ltd.
Following the latest recommendation from the TRA, interested parties have until Oct.14 to comment. The TRA will then produce a final recommendation, which will be sent to the secretary of state for international trade to take the final decision on whether to uphold the TRA’s recommendation.
— Diana Kinch