The Turkish Steel Association (CIB) has accused the US department of commerce (DoC) of blocking Turkish steel imports, after the latter announced antidumping measures against Turkish and Japanese steel.

The US secretary of commerce recently announced the final findings of ongoing antidumping investigations that concluded imports of steel reinforcement bar (rebar) from Japan and Turkey have been sold in the US market at unfair prices, and that rebar imports from Turkey have also been unfairly subsidised by the Turkish government.

The DoC determined that exporters from Japan have dumped rebar in the US at 206.43% to 209.46% below fair value, while exporters from Turkey have sold rebar in the country at 5.39% to 8.17% below fair value, and received unfair government subsidies of 16.21%. The government department has instructed customs and border protection to collect cash deposits from importers of rebar based on these final rates.

“The US can no longer sit back and watch as its essential industries like steel are destroyed by foreign companies unfairly selling their products in the US markets,” says commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.

CIB has accused the US of conducting a “scandalous and unlawful” investigation with the aim of blocking imports “at all costs”.

“Throughout this process, the DoC has been clearly biased against Turkish exporters as apparent from the fact that almost every argument raised by the Turkish parties was rejected,” says CIB board chairman Namık Ekinci.

“While Turkey’s steel exporters have long become accustomed to expensive and heavy-handed investigations, even while the US enjoys a huge trade surplus with our country, the increasing politicisation of the US trade regime is a singularly unwelcome development. We have no doubt that the Turkish Government will take this to a WTO panel.”

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) is conducting a parallel investigation on the same case. It is scheduled to make its final conclusions by June 29. If it disagrees with DoC findings, the investigation will be dropped and no duties will be collected.

In 2016, US imports of steel rebar from Turkey were valued at US$511.9mn, while imports from Japan were estimated to be worth $96.1mn.

Imports of steel rebar from Turkey have increased steadily, from 650,049 metric tonnes, worth US$381.3mn, in 2013, to 1.5 million metric tonnes, worth $674.4mn, in 2015.

Imports of steel rebar from Japan have also increased from 23,335 metric tonnes, worth US$12.3mn, in 2013, to 242,336 metric tonnes in 2015, worth US$108.7mn.