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U.S. slaps tariffs of up to 456.23% on steel from Vietnam

Multiple-ton coils of steel are unloaded in July from the cargo ship Selinda by workers at the Logistec USA terminal at the state pier in New London, Conn. The United States is imposing new tariffs on steel from Vietnam.

The United States is slapping tariffs of up to 456.23% on steel imported from Vietnam after only undergoing minor finishing there.

ArcelorMittal USA, U.S. Steel, Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics, AK Steel Corp., California Steel Industries, and Nucor asked for the duties on steel that's made in Korea and Taiwan, shipped to Vietnam for light processing and then sent to the United States as cold-rolled steel and corrosion-resistant steel.

The U.S. Department of Commerce ruled the third-country routing was a circumvention of existing antidumping and countervailing duties. As a result of the ruling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are collecting duties of up to 456.23% at the ports, depending on the type of steel product and where it came from.

The tariffs will be retroactive to Aug. 2, when the inquiry was opened.

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Shipments of corrosion-resistant steel have increased by 331.9% since before the duties were imposed to $950 million between December 2015 and April 2019. Shipments of cold-rolled steel from Vietnam to the United States have soared by 916.4% over the same period.

"The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade law and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international law and is based on factual evidence provided on the record," the agency said in a press release.

The tariffs, which were imposed specifically on certain countries to offset dumping below market value and other violations of international trade law, are on top of the Section 232 25% tariffs on all foreign steel.

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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.