The U.S. Department of Commerce is launching an investigation into whether Chinese companies laundered steel to avoid import tariffs. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is looking into whether Chinese companies avoided tariffs on steel by shipping steel through Vietnam. The investigation, originally reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed through documents obtained by Reuters, comes after several big U.S. steel producers accused Chinese rivals of making small modifications to their steel in Vietnam, getting the "made in Vietnam" stamp, before shipping it to the United States at the lower Vietnam tariff rate. At issue- is there enough modification going on to really call it a new product. Savio Chan, CEO of U.S. China Partners. (SOUNDBITE) SAVIO CHAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, U.S. CHINA PARTNERS, INC., (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The Chinese have been using every trick in the book to try to find ways to change the manufacture of origin so that they can avoid the U.S. tariff. So, Vietnam and other places, or trading partners, so, if you look at this new story they talk about the chairmans, you know, family, or a company there in this country, and then they have a trading agent in the U.S. and another company. So this story is typical of Chinese, you know, state enterprise." The Commerce Department and Homeland Security are also also looking at Chinese shipments of aluminum. The U.S. firms that were petitioning the department include ArcelorMittal USA, Nucor Corp, AK Steel Holdings and United States Steel.