In February of 2009, specifically February 5th, the ITC (United States International Trade Commission) found that imports of small diameter electrodes from China posed an injury to US-based industries also producing these same size graphite electrodes.
After reviewing their findings, the trade commissioners determined there was an economic injury to some American manufacturers due to specific graphite electrode imports, which included any and all lengths and types of graphite electrodes from China that had a diameter ranging anywhere from 400 millimeters to 16 inches. Graphite pin joining systems for these electrodes also fell into this group, regardless if they were finished or unfinished.
The result of these findings was to establish an anti-dumping regulation, specifically targeted at small diameter electrodes.
Since then, the ITC voted on keeping the anti-dumping duty order in place on May 14, 2014. By a vote of 5-0 (with one commissioner abstaining), the original order was upheld. The commission indicated that revoking the order would likely cause a recurrence of injury to American companies for the foreseeable time.
The Impact on American Companies
The reality is that the primary supplier of these small diameter graphite electrodes (SDGE) in the United States is no longer producing these components. However, the anti-dumping duties are still in place, costing American companies money for every shipment brought inâ€”like M. Brashem, Inc.
There are other companies in countries other than China that produce SDGE, but they tend to be more costly than comparable quality products. There are over 100 companies manufacturing SDGEs in China, so the greater competition keeps prices down.
While there is no doubt that the subsidized Chinese companies offer graphite electrodes at significantly low pricesâ€”below the nominal market valueâ€”to manipulate markets and prevent competition, it also ends up costing American companies that use the SDGE in their business. Without a primary producer in the United States (and no companies moving in to fill this market need) continuing with the high anti-dumping duties is not just hurting suppliers, it is impacting American companies as well.