Employees of a steel producer in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province check the quality of steel products on October 10. Photo: CFP
The country's largest flat-rolled alloy steel producer, Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corp, said Sunday that it will respond in a proactive manner to an anti-dumping investigation launched Friday by the US Commerce Department.
Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday that the US Commerce Department announced trade probes into imports of flat-rolled alloy steel products from China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Poland and Russia.
"We have always strictly abided by World Trade Organization rules," Sun Jin, director of the publicity office at Wuhan Iron and Steel, told the Global Times Sunday, adding that his company has won lawsuits over anti-dumping probes before.
"We have won a dozen similar anti-dumping lawsuits by foreign countries in the past 10 years," Sun said.
Sun also noted that if it didn't defend itself, Wuhan Iron and Steel would either have to accept high punitive tariffs or exit the US market.
The company was the first in China to start research and development of flat-rolled alloy steel products, a type of electrical steel product that is widely used in the electric power sector.
The investigations are in response to a request from two steel producers in the US - AK Steel Corporation and Allegheny Ludlum - and the United Steelworkers, a steelworkers' industrial labor union.
They alleged that the steel products were being sold below their fair value in the US market, and also claimed that firms in China were receiving illegal government subsidies.
But Sun said the strong price competitiveness of Wuhan Iron and Steel products is based on its technological innovation and low operating costs.
An official at the China Iron and Steel Association said she didn't know the specific details about the probes and declined to comment when reached by the Global Times Sunday.
A media officer at Baosteel Group Corporation also declined to comment on the probes when reached by the Global Times Sunday.
Xinhua reported that the International Trade Commission, the US trade authority, is expected to make a preliminary determination around November 20.
"Anti-dumping probes are a common trade protectionism measure taken by the US government," Wang Guoqing, director of Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center, told the Global Times Sunday.
Wang said Chinese steel makers must proactively defend themselves against anti-dumping probes by foreign countries so as to protect their rights and interests, especially at a time when their global competitiveness is increasing.
Chinese steel producers, such as Wuhan Iron and Steel, have been enhancing their research and development for flat-rolled alloy steel since 2000, and have gradually changed from their roles as importers of this type of electrical steel product to exporters, according to Wang.
In 2012, China exported a total of 279,000 tons of electrical steel products including flat-rolled alloy steel products, with 4.3 percent of the exports going to the US, according to data from Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center.
Xinhua contributed to this story