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Australia wins US tariff exemptions

12 Mar 2018 05:13 GMT
Australia wins US tariff exemptions

Sydney, 12 March (Argus) — Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed that Australia has secured an tariff exemption for its exports of steel and aluminium to the US.

The steel exemption will mostly apply to New South Wales steel producer BlueScope Steel, which exports around 300,000 t/yr of flat steel products from its Port Kembla steelworks to the US. The aluminium exemption will apply to aluminium from several smelters, including those owned by UK-Australian firm Rio Tinto. The exemptions apply to US President Donald Trump's 25pc tariff on steel and his 10pc tariff on aluminium.

Turnbull today confirmed that Canberra will not join a EU-led complaint to the World Trade Organisation about the tariffs now that Australia had secured an exemption. Trump has also exempted steel imports from Canada and Mexico while the North American Free Trade Agreement is being negotiated.

Turnbull played down expectations that Australia will increase its own anti-dumping measures to stop lower priced steel that is diverted from the US entering the country, saying that the existing Anti-Dumping Commission is already capable of keeping out below-cost steel.

The commission last week slapped dumping margins of 4.4pc-42.1pc on steel reinforcing bar from Greece, Indonesia, Thailand, Spain and Taiwan. It is also investigating anti-dumping cases bought against Chinese imports of steel rod in coil, steel reinforcing bars, alloy round steel bar, aluminium extrusions and aluminium road wheels, as well as against Chinese, South Korean and Taiwanese imports of galvanised and aluminium zinc coated steel, along with rod in coil from Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam.

The commission is also investigating imports of hollow structural steel sections from China, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Australia already has anti-dumping margins applied to a range of steel and aluminium products, including hot-rolled plate steel from China, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea, as well as wire rope from South Africa.