The United States imports wire rod from both Metinvest and ArcelorMittal SA’s Ukraine subsidiary, although the companies’ operations have been disrupted lately by conflict in that country. The Kryvyi Rih mill continues to produce steel, while Metinvest’s billet and long steel mill Yenakiieve Iron & Steel Works was seized in March by pro-Russia separatists. The Kryvyi Rih mill is located in central Ukraine, in a relatively conflict-free zone, whereas Metinvest's mill is in eastern Ukraine, at the heart of the conflict region.
The two companies were named as mandatory respondents in a US trade case filed in March 2017. Steep preliminary duties were recently set against Ukrainian wire rod, at 34.98-44.03%.
Metinvest drafted the required regulatory agreement with its US trade attorney. But when the company approached ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, the latter simply did not sign the deal, effectively blocking any potential suspension agreement, one informed industry source said.