Mid Continent Steel & Wire has been granted most of its requested exceptions to trade tariffs of 25% imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) on steel wire from Mexico.
Per DoC and multiple media reports, the Missouri-based nail manufacturer—which is owned by Mexico-based Deacero—is the largest nail maker in the U.S. Prior to the impositions of the tariffs on June 1, 2018, the company had 500 employees, but went to less than 300 because it lost some 60% of business. With the majority of the requested exemptions approved, the company is now recalling some 50 employees.
Per Mid Continent, exemptions from Section 232 tariffs are rarely approved, which made the decision especially good news. "This is a great day for our workers, our customers, for Southeast Missouri, and for U.S. manufacturing," said Operations General Manager Chris Pratt. "We knew from the start that we qualified for the exclusions. Now, we can focus on making Magnum, the best nails in the world, here in Poplar Bluff, Missouri."
While Mid Continent can once again ramp up production, the company notes that the relief is only good for one year, so it will have to seek further exemptions. Pratt said the company cut about 60 temporary jobs and more than 140 other workers left over concerns about job security and were not replaced.
A DoC press release said exporters from South Africa and Ukraine sold wire rod in the U.S. at 135.46 to 142.26%, and 34.98 to 44.03% less than fair value, respectively. As a result, DoC will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of wire rod from South Africa, and Ukraine based on these final rates.
In 2016, imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from South Africa and Ukraine were valued at an estimated $7.1 million and $55 million, respectively. In 2016, exports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from Ukraine to the United States more than doubled in physical terms compared to 2015, to 146,470 tonnes and grew by 70.9% in monetary terms, to $55.02 million. Shipments from South Africa, on the contrary, more than halved in physical terms, to 20,000 metric tons and decreased by 58.3% in monetary terms, to $7.05 million.
The petitioners in the case were Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc. (FL), Nucor Corporation (NC), Keystone Consolidated Industries (TX), and Charter Steel (WI).
If the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) makes affirmative final injury determinations, DoC will issue AD orders. If the ITC makes negative final determinations of injury, the investigations will be terminated and no orders will be issued.
"While the United States values its relationship with South Africa and Ukraine even our closest friends must play by the rules," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.