U.S. Steel Corp. Chairman David M. Roderick hinted today that the company is preparing dumping, or countervailing-duty, cases against Canadian steel companies in addition to the Japanese.
Roderick's suggestion of possible import-related complaints against Canada was the first such indication since the nation's largest steel producer filed dumping complaints last March against steelmakers in seven European countries that caused momentary tensions between the United States and the European Economic Community.
A Canadian Embassy official said today that "we think" such complaints against Canadian companies "would almost be harrassment. The motive would be to disrupt trade." The official denied that any of the Big Three or smaller Canadian steel companies were engaged in improper trade practices.
Roderick had said in March that his company planned to file antidumping complaints against the Japanese and several other countries. Today he included possible countervailing-duty actions. A finding against a country under either complaint could result in heavy duties.
When asked today during an interview what other countries might be charged in complaints, Roderick replied that they would be in the Far East, Europe and North America. Roderick then changed that statement to "the Americas." aWhen asked whether "the Americas" meant South America, Central America and North America, Roderick said yes and added "and Canada." Roderick then repeated that remark.
However he refused to name specifically any country other than Japan because he said it wouldn't be fair to them in case any complaints weren't filed. In Japan's case Roderick said that because U.S. Steel had plenty of evidence of improper trade practices, it would be fair to name them.
The U.S. Steel chairman also said his company is investigating an African steel producer.
Canada is the United States' largest trading partner and is the second-largest supplier of steel, mainly to the U.S. automotive industry and for construction, the embassy official said.
The official added that any dumping or countervailing-duty cases filed against companies in that country wouldn't cause an uproar similar to what followed the filing of complaints against the EEC countries.
"It would probably be a little bit annoying because in this case we clearly have not been dumping and our companies' behavior has been good," the official said. "There would be no official reaction."
Roderick said that the company is working on the complaint and plans to file them within the next 30 to 60 days.
Roderick is here attending the American Iron and Steel Institute's 88th general meeting, which ironically awarded one of its highest honors to a retired Canadian steel executive official. Robert B. Taylor, a former vice president and treasurer of the Steel Co. of Canada Ltd., Canada's largest steel maker, delivered the Charles M. Schwab memorial lecture here with a theme that steel producers "must be especially open and communicative."
During a luncheon address, Lewis Foy, outgoing chairman of the institute, and chairman of Bethlemen Steel Corp., praised "those remarkable and exceptional men" who built the steel industry.
A press release issued at the meeting quoted Foy as revising downward from between 90 million and 93 million tons to between 87 million and 90 million tons Bethlehem's estimate of steel industry shipments this year because of "deteriorating economic conditions."
During the first of two days of meetings here, steel executives complained about competitions with imports, government regulations and the lack of capital to make use of new technology.
Last month, Commerce Secretary Philip M. Klutznick said that he hoped U.S. Steel could come to some resolution of its complaints against the Europeans without continuing the dumping cases. But Roderick said today that no Carter administration officialhad suggested any other remedies to him besides the anti-dumping complaints.
"We would be very receptive at any time the president or any of his secretaries have a solution to recommend," Roderick said. "We stand open and ready to cooperate." Roderick said it is up to the administration, not him, to come up with suggestions.
A Commerce Department official said today that have to the filling of import charges against them. "Nobody likes the idea of responding to a dumping suit," he said.
The Canadians are known for their efficient steel production, and have been allowed to sell their steel product here at prices below levels of other countries, the Commerce officials said.