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Thai steel firm says Chinese are dumping steel
Chinese-made coated and painted flat products had flooded Thailand over the past 12 months and the situation had worsened over the last three to four months, BlueScope Steel (Thailand) says.
Jason Ellis, president of BlueScope says domestic Chinese prices are significantly higher than the prices offered for export to Thailand. Prices of the Chinese products are 20-30 percent cheaper than those of Thai-made steel products, causing the margin of BlueScope Steel products to drop significantly over the past three to four months to an operating loss, he added.
"We have reduced the number of employees by 25 percent from 410 to 300. This is primarily due to the 50 percent reduction of our production at the Rayong factory," Ellis said. Its $300-million plant in Map Ta Phut, with a maximum capacity of 380,000 tonnes yearly, was operating at nearly full capacity before the dumping occurred. But the company cut its output by one-third in 2009 to cope with falling demand during the world recession.
BlueScope Steel is among the largest of the seven coated and painted flat steel product makers in Thailand, which mainly serve the demand from a construction sector and industrial plants. The company and Bangkok Steel Industry together hold more than 50 percent of the Thai market where consumption exceeds 1 million tonnes yearly. Imports also come from Korea and Taiwan but Chinese manufacturers are much more aggressive, said Ellis.
BlueScope executives yesterday attended a meeting of representatives of Thai steel companies and members of China's Iron and Steel Association to discuss trade issues. "Our options are seeking a settlement with Chinese manufacturers to adjust their trading practice. If nothing is improved, we are going to ask the Thai government to impose anti-dumping measures against the imports from China," Ellis said.
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