Wednesday 18th Jul, 2018

Trump’s 51% Simcoa tariff overturned

Donald Trump. Photo: Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore
Donald Trump. Photo: Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore

The top United States trade tribunal has blocked an attempt by the Trump Administration to slap WA silicon producer Simcoa with a 51% tariff.

The tariff, announced by Trump as part of his trade overhaul in March, was immediately labelled “outrageously high” by Simcoa’s vice president David Miles.

But it was overturned in a recent decision by the United States International Trade Commission, after the USITC found the US industry was not “materially injured or threatened with material injury” by imports of silicon from Australia, Brazil, or Norway.

“As a result of the USITC’s negative determinations, no antidumping or countervailing duty orders will be issued,” the Commission concluded.

During the investigation, Miles told the Commission Simcoa was unlikely to rapidly increase its supply to the United States any time soon, and thus should not be considered a major threat to local industry.

“We’re currently sold out for 2018 and likely for 2019,” Miles said. “We will not have excess capacity to manufacture additional silicon metal, nor do we have inventories from which silicon metal can be shipped to the United States.”

Mile said rising demand for silicon in Asia – mostly through Simcoa’s parent company Shin-Etsu – and long-term contracts with other non-US customers meant Simcoa had a “very limited ability to ship silicon metal to the US market over the next two years”.

“Additionally, high logistics costs and the weak US dollar make it far less attractive for us to export our products here than to other markets,” he added.