WTO ruling against U.S. steel duties stays

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WTO ruling against U.S. steel duties stays

The World Trade Organization’s ruling against the United States for slapping antidumping duties on Korean steel pipes is set, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Monday.

In July 2014, the U.S. Commerce Department levied 9.9 percent to 15.8 percent in antidumping duties on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) imports from Korean steelmakers including Hyundai Steel, Nexteel, Seah Steel and Husteel.

OCTG is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the pipelines market, and Korean producers enjoyed a boom in the U.S. oil and gas industry.

Five months later, Korea submitted an appeal with the World Trade Organization against the tariff, arguing that the U.S. calculation of margins for Korean products was not “reasonable” when compared with the rate of global profit margins.

Last November, the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement panel sided with Korea’s claim that the United States incorrectly applied the term “same general category of products” in determining the OCTG products and didn’t use the actual profit data. The Korean companies exported 98 percent of their products to the United States.

The ruling was confirmed because the United States did not appeal within 60 days.

Korea exported $818 million worth of OCTG to the States in 2013, but the amount shrank to $262 million in 2015 and $271 million in 2016.

The Trump administration has invoked Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, a rarely used tool that allows emergency trade sanctions on “national security” grounds. In April, Trump ordered an investigation into whether steel imports undermined U.S. national security.

Korean officials have reiterated that they will work to actively tackle any unfair trade barriers that can be imposed on Korean products by foreign countries, including by filing complaints with the World Trade Organization.

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