US imposes duties on some steel products from China and Mexico

The United States is calling for new duties on some steel products from Mexico and China, saying exporters in those countries received unfair subsidies.

The US Department of Commerce said Monday that exporters of fabricated structural steel in China benefited from subsidies ranging between about 30% and 177%, while those in Mexico received subsidies of up to 74%.

The department said it will instruct US Customs and Border Protection to start collecting cash deposits from importers of the steel products from both countries. It noted that the decision is preliminary, and final determinations will be announced around November 19.

In 2018, the US imported $897.5 million worth of fabricated structured steel from China, and $622.4 million worth from Mexico, according to the Commerce Department.

The decision is a response to petitions filed earlier this year by the American Institute of Steel Construction.

The Commerce Department also investigated fabricated steel imports from Canada but found that the subsidies for Canadian exports were less than 1%.

In March last year, US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imports from several countries.

But Trump agreed two months ago to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico, in an attempt to defuse tensions as the three countries negotiated a new trade agreement.

The United States has also reached a temporary truce in its trade war with China, with Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreeing last month that they would restart trade talks. Trump said he would hold off on imposing new tariffs on Chinese goods that he had threatened if an agreement couldn’t be reached.