• Kyodo

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The U.S. International Trade Commission issued a preliminary ruling Thursday charging that stainless steel angles imported from Japan are hurting the U.S. industry.

All six ITC commissioners ruled in favor of Indiana-based Slater Steel Inc. and the United Steelworkers of America labor union, which in August jointly filed the antidumping complaint against the Japanese imports with the ITC, an independent U.S. federal agency, and the Commerce Department.

The Commerce Department is expected to release a preliminary ruling on the case in January.

Among the Japanese companies cited in the complaint are Aichi Steel Corp. and Daido Steel Co.

In the complaint, Slater Steel said dumping margins of the imports ranged from 72 percent to 109 percent. If Slater wins the case, punitive duties corresponding to dumping margins set by the Commerce Department will be imposed on the imports.

Stainless steel angles, mainly used in the construction industry, account for only a tiny portion of U.S. steel imports from Japan — 5,060 tons out of 2.78 million tons of steel products shipped last year.

The complaint is the 12th lodged by the U.S. steel industry against Japanese-made steel products.

Eleven other complaints have been settled. Washington has imposed punitive duties on seven categories of steel products, while charges against four categories were dismissed.

FTC busy on trade fouls

The Fair Trade Commission took legal action against a record 938 companies and organizations for violating competition policy regulations in fiscal 1999, up from 585 the previous year, according to the commission’s annual report released Friday.

The number of violations, however, remained unchanged from the previous fiscal year at 27, the competition policy watchdog said.

“Many of the cases involved a large number of companies,” resulting in the record number hit by legal action, an FTC official said.

The FTC issued cease-and-desist orders and took other forms of legal action in 18 cases of bid-rigging and other similar violations, up from 17 the previous fiscal year.

There were three cases of unfair trade practices, down from six; one of maintaining a private monopoly, unchanged; and one of operating a price-fixing cartel, also unchanged.

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