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Federal government to investigate hot-rolled dumping

An ArcelorMittal Riverdale steelworker monitors a hot strip of steel during the descale process. The International Trade Commission decided to pursue an investigation into the dumping of hot-rolled steel.

A flood of $1.9 billion in imports from seven foreign countries is damaging the steel industry, the U.S. International Trade Commission found. 

The federal agency found there's reason to investigate alleged steel dumping by Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The ITC also will probe whether Brazil, Korea and Turkey illegally subsidized exports they sent to the United States.

As a result of the ruling, the U.S. Department of Commerce will look into whether it should impose countervailing and antidumping tariffs.

ArcelorMittal, U.S. Steel and other major steelmakers alleged Brazil and six other countries illegally dumped $1.9 billion worth of hot-rolled steel. Steelmakers said they've laid off workers and idled facilities such as East Chicago Tin and Indiana Harbor Long Carbon primarily because of imports that have caused prices to plunge by 50 percent since 2008.

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Last year, the United States consumed about $44.3 billion worth of hot-rolled products. More than 13,000 workers were employed nationwide to make the sheet metal that's used to make automotive parts, agricultural equipment, metal buildings and railroad cars, among other products.

Earlier this month, the ITC reached a similar conclusion with $1.2 billion worth of cold-rolled imports that captured an estimated 9.3 percent of the market.

A preliminary ruling on countervailing duties against hot-rolled imports is expected by Nov. 4, and a preliminary antidumping determination should be made by Jan. 18. 

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.