By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department is set to announce Tuesday it will open a new anti-dumping probe to determine whether fabricated structural steel from Canada, China and Mexico is being sold at below fair value, a person briefed on the matter said.
The investigation comes as some U.S. lawmakers, car companies and Canada and Mexico have strongly urged the Trump administration to drop U.S. national security tariffs on steel and aluminium imports in the wake of a deal announced last year to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The fabricated structural steel under investigation is used major building projects, including commercial, office and residential buildings, arenas, convention centres, parking decks and ports.
The Commerce Department told lawmakers Tuesday the new probe is based on a petition filed earlier this month by a U.S. steel trade group.
In 2017, imports of fabricated structural steel from Canada, China, and Mexico were valued at an estimated $658.3 million (496.9 million pounds), $841.7 million, and $406.6 million, respectively. A preliminary determination on the issue is due from the International Trade Commission by March 21.
The Commerce Department alleges there are 44 subsidy programs for Canadian fabricated structural steel, including tax programs, grant programs, loan programs, export insurance programs, and equity programs. There are also 26 subsidy programs for China and 19 subsidy programs for Mexico, according to the agency.
Earlier this month, a Canadian steel industry group said it would strongly oppose a petition urging anti-dumping duty on certain steel imports from Canada.
The Canadian Institute of Steel Construction said the allegations by the U.S. group "that these products from Canada are unfairly traded and cause injury to U.S. producers of fabricated steel products are baseless."
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)