Bethlehem files new claim of steel-dumping

May 02, 1992|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Staff Writer

Bethlehem Steel Corp. and CF&I Steel Corp. of Pueblo, Colo., have filed an anti-dumping petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce against producers of train rails in Japan, Britain and Luxembourg.

It was the second action claiming unfair trade that Bethlehem Steel has filed with the Commerce Department since the expiration of steel quotas at the end of March, and it probably will not be the last, since the company says it continues to study other steel products and companies for possible actions.

Bethlehem operates the Sparrows Point steel mill in Baltimore County.

In their petition, Bethlehem and CF&I charge that for the past two years, companies in Japan, Britain and Luxembourg have sold steel rails in the United States for as much as 80 percent less than the price charged in their home countries. U.S. rail imports from those countries have grown to 25 percent from 12 percent in the past three years, the petition said.

Bethlehem and CF&I are the only producers of railroad rails in the United States. They sold 381,000 tons of rail last year, said Bethlehem spokesman William J. Gignac.

Bethlehem produces rails at its Steelton, Pa., plant. CF&I makes the product at its Pueblo plant, said Michael W. Coriden, general counsel for the company. CF&I has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy for about a year and a half, Mr. Coriden said.

On April 13, Bethlehem joined with Inland Steel Industries Inc. to file a petition charging unfair trade practices by producers of specially made steel bar and rod products in Brazil, France, Germany and Britain.

In a related action, the Commerce Department determined April 22 that companies in six countries were "dumping" steel pipe in the United States. If the department decides that the imports are hurting the U.S. steel industry, it may impose import duties on the products.

John I. Griffin, president of the American Institute for International Steel Inc., which represents steel importers and exporters, has warned against such actions, saying they have little chance of success and could hurt U.S. steel exports, which reached 6.3 million tons last year.

"Trade case filings by U.S. producers and filings against the U.S. by foreign mills further disrupt world trade and injure both U.S. producers and users of steel," Mr. Griffin said.

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