Antidumping duties on tin mill products not as severe as feared, easing concerns about price hikes for canned food

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/	97
Source: Getty/ 97

Related tags canned food Tin tariffs

The Consumer Brands Association is lauding a preliminary decision by the Department of Commerce to not impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties on tin mill products from five countries which could have caused costs – and by extension consumer prices – for canned food to spike.

At the behest of flat-rolled steel producer Cleveland-Cliffs and the United Steelworkers, the US International Trade Commission opened an investigation into whether tin mill – the source material for canned food packaging – from Canada, China, the Netherlands, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the UK, were being “dumped” onto the US market at substantially lower prices than in their homelands.

Cleveland-Cliffs argued in a petition that unfairly priced tinplate imports “flooding the United States”​ from these countries “have taken sales from the domestic industry and made it impossible to obtain a fair rate of return on domestic operations, putting the future of American made tin mill products at risk.”

After a “careful and nuanced”​ review of each country, the US Department of Commerce announced yesterday that tin mill products from the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Turkey and the UK are not being dumped and therefore no tariff would be placed on their goods.

Tin mill products from China, Canada and Germany, however, are being unfairly priced and dumped into the US, the US Department of Commerce determined as part of its antidumping duty investigations. As such, preliminary duties of 122.5% will be placed on tin mill imports from China and rates of 7.02% will be placed on Germany and 5.29% on Canada.

The rates imposed on Canada and Germany are far lower than those requested by Cleveland-Cliffs, which initially suggested an anti-dumping duty of 79.6% on imports from Cananda and 70.2% on German imports.

China, Canada and Germany account for a combined 44% of the tin mill steel imported into the US.

CBA lauds decision as a ‘positive step toward protecting US consumers’

The split decision is a “positive step toward protecting US consumers, domestic manufacturers and their workforce,”​ David Chavern, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, said in a statement.

He explained CBA had lobbied along side more than 40 members of Congress and “dozens of prominent food and agriculture groups”​ against Cleveland-Cliffs’ request to penalize tin mill imports from the countries on the basis it was bad for business.

Economic impact studies​ commissioned by CBA suggested the tariffs advocated for by Cleveland-Cliffs would be “utterly devastating” ​to consumers by driving up the cost of canned food and products by 30%. It also argued the move could cost upwards of 40,000 US manufacturing jobs as canned food companies tried to reign in expenses.

“We are encouraged that our message was heard: ordinary people will inevitably bear the costs of new tariffs on tin mill steel through higher food prices and lost jobs,”​ Chavern said.

He added CBA is “hopeful that the final decision will solidly rebuke the claims of Cleveland-Cliffs, and the punitive outcomes on consumers and the domestic food industry that such tariffs would inflict.”

The US Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission’s final decision for China is slated for Oct. 31 and for all other countries a final decision is expected in early January.

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