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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S., Russia Sign $55M Steel Deal

Russia and the United States signed an agreement Tuesday that may boost steel exports to America by up to $55 million next year.

Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Maxim Medvedkov and U.S. Assistant Commerce Secretary Faryar Shirzad signed an amendment to the 1999 Comprehensive Trade Agreement, which set quotas on a series of Russian steel exports to the United States.

The amendment increases the quota for Russian slab by about 20 percent, or 200,000 metric tons per year, through 2004, Medvedkov said.

Russia is expected to export about 1.2 million tons in 2002.

Slabs from Russia cost about $220 to $230 per ton and the price is rising, said Slava Smolianinov, analyst at NIKoil.

"This will give Russian producers the opportunity to increase their sales of slabs into the U.S. market, using more capacity and increasing employment," Medvedkov said.

"It's not in the interests of the United States to put up more barriers," Smolianinov said. "Something like this was expected. They're thinking of their consumers. Steel prices in the States have skyrocketed."

The United States introduced protectionary tariffs ranging from 8 percent to 30 percent on a wide variety of steel products in March.

Shirzad also initialed an agreement with steel producers Severstal, Magnitogorsk and Nosta to suspend steel plate anti-dumping procedures. Russia and the United States had signed a plate agreement, which was set to expire this year.

"The result of that would have been that Russian producers for all practical purposes would have been barred from the U.S. market," Shirzad said.

The agreement allows producers to sell on terms that reflect their actual costs, a benefit of Russia gaining market economy status as of April 1.

The agreement could be finalized in mid-December at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development talks in Paris on reducing global steel overcapacity, Shirzad said. Under U.S. law, the Commerce Department must wait 30 days between initialing and signing an agreement.