On Tuesday, April 18 five AWPA members, representing a significant portion of the US Wire Industry, testified at the Preliminary Staff Conference at the International Trade Commission in connection with the petition requesting protection from import duties on wire rod from 10 countries. John T Johnson, Mid-South Wire, Christian Stauffer, Insteel Industries, Bob Moffitt, Heico Wire Group and Terry Hughes, Bekaert Corporation testified on behalf of AWPA and David Minnick testified on behalf of Kiswire. There were also company witnesses from POSCO.
While much of the industry testimony of the attorneys for the foreign producers discussed the exclusion of Tire Cord wire rod from the case, as it is not made in the US, the industry witnesses also addressed issues of importance for all wire sectors. Witness spoke about rod delivery delays and full order books for upcoming quarters; recent price increases from the rod industry; and competition in the downstream market with rod suppliers. In addition, there was much discussion about the difference between the PRICE of wire rod and COST of wire rod and the factors that make up the decision about which rod to buy, which is not just the number on the order. Kimberly Korbel also raised the issue that import protection for the rod industry will ultimately hurt the rod industry. If the rod industry receives protection, the competitive disadvantage to the US wire industry will cause US wire producers to lose customers to imports of wire and wire products, and which will in turn cause them to buy less domestic rod.
The Commission staff asked many questions of the industry witnesses and were very appreciative of their presence at the hearing. The testimony of the AWPA witnesses can be found on the AWPA website.
The foreign countries represented included Italy, Korea, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United Kingdom. There were no attorneys for Belarus or Russia.
On the petitioner’s side, witnesses were Chris Armstrong and Steve Ashby from Keystone, Marcelo Canosa from Gerdau and Eric Nystrom from Nucor. Charter Steel, also a petitioner was conspicuously absent. Petitioners argued that these importers took away the protection they received from the duties placed on imports from China in 2014; that US wire producers buy material only on the basis of the lowest price; and the closure of Georgetown and Republic are the result of harm caused by imports from these countries.
AWPA will post the full transcript of the ITC Staff Conference, later next week.
If you have any questions about AWPA’s participation in this trade case, please contact Kimberly Korbel at 703-299-4434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.