ARLINGTON, VA. — The Department of Commerce (DOC) has issued its final determination regarding proposed duties on tin mill imports to the United States. According to the Consumer Brands Association (CBA), the decision leaves room for improvement.

Steel conglomerate Cleveland-Cliffs initially proposed antidumping tariffs of up to 300% on tinplate steel materials imported to the United States from Canada, China, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, the Netherlands and United Kingdom. According to Cleveland-Cliffs, these eight countries are offering tinplate steel at cut-rate prices, therefore impacting its sales and creating unfair competition.

In September 2023, the DOC issued a preliminary ruling for these tariffs, including 122% on China, 7% on Germany, 5% on Canada, and 0% on South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Current duties issued by the DOC in January are as follows:

Final ruling on tinplate steel tariffsSource: Consumer Brands Association

“The Department of Commerce’s final duty levels on imports of tin mill steel products largely reject incredulous claims from Cleveland-Cliffs that would have significantly hurt consumers and domestic manufacturing jobs,” said David Chavern, president and chief executive officer of the Consumer Brands Association. “While we are disappointed to see any level of suggested duties on tin mill steel from ally countries like Germany, Canada and South Korea, we appreciate Commerce’s determination of no evidence of dumping from the Netherlands, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom.”

The CBA and several other industry organizations have been ardently opposing the tariffs proposed by Cleveland-Cliffs. Neary 30 stakeholders — including the Pet Food Institute, American Pulse Association and Can Manufacturers Institute — penned a letter to the DOC’s International Trade Commission (ITC) in December claiming the proposed tariffs could result in a price hike of up to 58 cents for canned products — including food, pet food, paint and other home care items — across the United States, and would negatively impact manufacturing workers to the tune of 40,000 lost jobs.

“Can manufacturers and CPG companies do not have access to the steel needed without importing tin mill products,” Chavern continued. “Imports of tin mill steel are critical to ensuring the availability and continued viability of manufacturing cans, food, personal care and household products here in the United States, because the domestic industry, including petitioner Cleveland-Cliffs, has refused to make steel that meets the quality and width specifications required by downstream users.

“When the International Trade Commission meets again in February to vote on this case, we can only hope that it listens to the arguments it heard yesterday during its hearing on these issues,” Chavern concluded. “We are confident that the facts in this case and market realities point the Commission toward a finding of no injury in this case and a complete dismissal of Cleveland-Cliffs’ misleading claims.”

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