The government of Thailand is to apply a temporary safeguard on imported hot-rolled steel flat products following complaints by local domestic producers regarding cheap imports, mainly from China.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, who chaired a meeting of the Anti-dumping and Countervailing Committee last week, said the members agreed to apply temporary safeguard measure by raising import tariffs on hot-rolled steel flat products.

The measure will be in effect during the investigation into damage from imported hot-rolled steel dumping.

Four Thai steel producers have complained to the ministry that they have suffered from low- priced Chinese products. They are Sahaviriya Steel Industries, G Steel, GJ Steel and Sahaviriya Plate Mill Co. The four firms said the amount of hot-rolled steel imported from China is significant, at 42% of the total imported, but much of it is substandard.

Thailand currently produces 5 to 6Mt of hot-rolled steel, while another 2Mt are imported, especially high-quality steel used in the automobile, pressing, and large diameter steel-pipe sectors.

Mr Boonsong said the temporary safeguard will take effect next week and be compulsory for 200 days during the ministry's investigation, which started last Nov 27. The ministry is expected to finish within 12 months.

Thailand imports hot-rolled steel from 16 countries, mainly Japan and South Korea. Normal import duty is 5% but is zero for countries with a free trade agreement with Thailand.

Last year, the import volume of hot-rolled steel flat product was 1.55Mt up by nearly 97% from 2011. In 2010, the imported volume was only 403.762kt.

Source: Daily ‘Bangkok Post’, Bangkok; 4 Feb 2013