The US International Trade Commission’s decision to maintain anti-dumping duties on Japanese carbon steel cut-to-length plate was sharply criticized by Hidenori Tazawa, Chairman, Japan Steel Information Center.

Mr. Tazawa said, “World Trade Organization rules create a presumption that anti-dumping orders should normally expire after five years.”

In a “sunset review” of the plate order, first imposed in 2000, the ITC determined that elimination of the duties would result in a continuation or recurrence of injury.

Mr. Tazawa said that the record was “very clear” that maintaining these duties “could not be supported by the facts that were before the Commission.”

He pointed out, “US plate customers have been placed on allocation or even refused supply in the tight US market by US steelmakers who have been profitable and unable to meet demand, particularly in high value-added products.”

He said Japanese steel producers’ presence in the US market has been limited to higher grade products such as those required in “demanding energy sector applications”. Japanese steelmakers’ focus has been on domestic and Asian markets, where shipbuilding orders, in particular, have created strong demand for Japanese plate beyond 2006.

“We will examine the views of the ITC once they have been made available but believe that any rationale for continuing the duties cannot be supported by the facts,” Mr. Tazawa added.

Japan was one of six countries named in the original ITC decision.