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China Dumping Excess Steel Production Essay
China, Dumping, Excess Steel, Production, Essay
Closing case is China Dumping Excess Steel Production?
Government Policy and International Trade Chapter 7 219
In the 15 years up to 2015, China increased its steel production fivefold as it forged the steel products demanded by its huge boom in construction and infrastructure spending. By 2015, the country produced 800 million tons of steel a year, half of the world’s annual output. However, in 2015 the bottom fell out of the Chinese domestic market for steel.
The economy slowed down, and the government shifted its priorities away from massive infrastructure investments and to- ward boosting consumer spending. By the end of 2015, Chinese steelmakers were estimated to be producing 300 million more tons of steel a year than required for domestic consumption. With prices for steel slumping, China’s largest 101 steel firms lost more than $12 billion in 2015, roughly twice what they made in profits during 2014.
Not surprisingly, the Chinese are seeking to export this un- wanted product, even if it is at a loss. China exported more than 100 million tons of steel for the first time in 2015, making its steel exports alone larger than the production of any other country in the world except for Japan. The prices for Chinese steel products appear to be at least 10 percent lower outside of China than within the country.
Those low-priced exports are having a devastating im- pact on steelmakers around the globe. American producers have responded by clamoring for action from the U.S. Commerce Department to stop what they perceive to be the illegal dumping of steel products below the costs of production.
Moreover, they have argued that cheap steel from China has also persuaded producers in India, Italy, South Korea, and Taiwan to dump their excess production on the world market, further harming U.S. producers. In November 2015, the Commerce Department ruled that all of these countries except Taiwan were dumping steel and placed duties as high as 236 percent on some imports of foreign steel.
In late December, the Commerce Department ruled that China was also selling corrosion- resistant steel at unfairly low prices and placed an additional 256 percent tariff on such imports. This erected a huge barrier to certain Chinese steel imports into the United States. The European Union also took similar steps. The United Kingdom has been particularly hard hit by Chinese imports. Chinese imports now take 45 percent of
the UK market for steel rebar, up from nothing in 2010. Overall, steel imports from China doubled between 2014 and 2015. The United Kingdom lost some 4,000 steelmaking jobs in the second half of 2015 as the Chinese grabbed market share. Elsewhere in Europe, the Luxembourg- based steel giant Arcelor Mittal blamed dumping by Chinese firms for a $8 billion loss in 2015.
In response, in January 2016, the EU placed a 13 percent tariff on imports of Chinese steel. EU steel- makers called this totally inadequate, particularly given the much large tariffs levied in the United States. In mid-2016, the EU responded by placing tariffs as high as 22 percent on imports of non–stainless steel products from China.
For its part, the Chinese government remained unmoved. In fact, it may have added fuel to the fire in December 2015 when it cut export taxes on several types of steel, signaling perhaps that it was doubling down on a strategy to encourage domestic producers to export their surplus production rather than close mills.
Sources: Sonja Elmquist, “U.S. Calls for 256% Tariff on Imports of Steel from China,” Bloomberg News, December 22, 2015; “China’s Soaring Steel Exports May Presage a Trade War,” The Economist, December 9, 2015; “Steel Imports from China Investigated by the European Commission,” BBC News, February 12, 2016; Ivana Kottasova, “Europe Tries to Protect Steel Jobs with Tariffs on Chinese Imports,” CNN Money, January 29, 2016; Jones Hayden, “China-Russia Steel Hit with 5-Year Anti-Dumping Tariffs,” Bloomberg, August 4, 2016.
Case Discuss ion Quest ions
are the costs and benefits of this alternative policy to China?
C LO S I N G C A S E
Is China Dumping Excess Steel Production?
220 Part 3 The Global Trade and Investment Environment
and elsewhere will dump their excess production at a loss on world markets?