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China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and state-owned China Telecom are among those taking part in discussions about building a 10,500 km fiber-optic link across the Arctic Circle that would cost an estimated 700 million euros. A report in the South China Morning Post said that China is in discussions with Finland, Japan, Russia and Norway "to create the fastest data connection between Europe and China as soon as 2020." The story said that the faster connectivity with help European financial centers and data hubs, and fits into China’s long-term "Belt and Road" trade-and-infrastructure initiative. The project, made logistically feasible by melting in the Arctic region, furthers China’s growing ties with Finland, the story said. It noted that Xi Jinping is the first Chinese president to visit the country since 1995. A freight railway between the Finnish city of Kouvola and China’s Xian recently opened and Finnair is seeking to become a regional hub for flights between the two continents. Cinia Group, a Finnish government-owned information and communications technology company, has a prominent role in the so-called "Northeast Passage" cable project and is looking for partners. "It has been widely expressed that this cable route would provide a game changer in the industry," said Jukka-Pekka Joensuu, an executive adviser to Cinia. Estimates suggest that the new cable could cut the time delay from Asia to Europe in half.
Published in Industry News
The Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC) and NEC Corporation (NEC) announced the completion of a new submarine cable that will connect the Republic of Palau to Guam and onward connectivity to Asia, North America and the rest of the world. A press release said that the Palau Spur will interconnect with the existing SEA-US submarine cable—which connects the Philippines and Indonesia to the west coast of the U.S. via Guam and Hawaii—from a branching unit located between the Philippines and Guam. The Palau Spur has an initial design capacity of 500 Gbps. NEC is supplying some 200 km of cable for the project, including a pre-lay shore end of about 7 km. "Yesterday, this island nation was still dependent on satellite communications, but from today, this new cable will bring information at the speed of light, improving the quality of life for those living in and traveling to Palau," said Toru Kawauchi, general manager of NEC’s Submarine Network Division." Palau, an archipelago of over 500 islands that is part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean, has a population of about 21,700 people.
Published in Industry News
LS HongQi Cable & System, the local manufacturing unit of LS C&S in China, announced that it has won a Kuwait cable deal worth approximately $53 million. Per reports in The Pulse and The Korea Herald, the deal signed with the Ministry of Electricity and Water in Kuwait calls for LS HongQi to provide extra-high voltage underground cables. They noted that this represents the first such order that the company has secured from the Middle East. LS C&S acquired a 91.5% stake in LS HongQi in 2009. The new contract for LS HongQi amounts to more than half of all the company’s last annual revenues. The company, at that point, had mainly covered local cable demand. "LS HongQi C&S has strived to clinch deals in the overseas markets," said Myung Roh-hyun, CEO of LS C&S Asia. "The company expects to log additional deals in the overseas markets." In other news, LS C&S reported that it has won an order for aerial cables worth $60 million from Bangladesh. A press release said that the cables are to be provided on a turnkey basis in which it will be is responsible from cable production to pylon construction. The project is to start this year and be completed by June 2020. "The new project would serve as an opportunity for us to aggressively participate in aerial cable projects overseas," said Myung Roh-hyun, chief executive of LS C&S. The company has so far clinched orders worth more than $100 million, including a $46 million contract in Bangladesh it signed last September to add more underground cables in urban areas.
Published in Industry News
Southwire has begun construction of a 400,000-sq-ft facility in Georgia, a $20 million project that will be in the Douglas County part of Villa Rica, in the same business park as Southwire’s current West Georgia and Retail East Customer Service Centers (CSC).

Southwire reported that the project, scheduled for completion by the end of 2018, will result in approximately 60 new jobs. Kurt Hennelly, Southwire’s executive vice president of sourcing, distribution and manufacturing strategy, said that the new property is adjacent to the CSC, essentially creating an expansion of the existing Southeast distribution complex. The addition will enable the company “to optimize inbound and outbound freight costs while continuing to improve upon the excellent service levels our customers have come to expect from Southwire,” Hennelly said. More details regarding the facility and the expansion will be released as the development progresses.

Ron Wilson, chairman of the Douglas County Economic Development Authority board of directors, said the agency is “delighted to have a company like Southwire expand their operations within our county.”
Published in Industry News
The U.S. Department of Commerce has made affirmative final antidumping (AD) determinations against imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from Belarus, Russian and the UAE, a decision that follows a previous one made for seven other countries.

The final AD margins for Belarus was 280.02% as a Belarus-wide entity, the agency reported. For Russia, the margins were 756.93% for Abinsk Electric Steel Works Ltd. and JSC NLMK-Ural, and 436.8% for all others. For the UAE, the margin was 84.1%.

The matter was pressed by four U.S. steel makers—Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc., Nucor Corp., Keystone Consolidated Industries and Charter Steel—what had petitioned the International Trade Commission. Other countries part of the trade case include the Ukraine, South Africa, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Turkey and the U.K. Commerce decided to extend its consideration of steel wire rod imports from South Africa and Ukraine. Determinations on the remaining five countries was scheduled for March 15.

One opponent to the AD duties was the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, which argued at a hearing that Grade 1080 and higher steel wire rod should be excluded from any duties. Domestic steel wire rod suppliers simply cannot meet the volume and quality needs of the U.S. tire manufacturing industry, said Tracey Norberg, USTMA senior vice president and general counsel.

Commerce has instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to start collecting AD duties from these producers. Because the agency found critical circumstances in the case of Russia, it has told CBP to collect duties from Russian steel wire rod producers effective 90 days from the publication of preliminary determinations in the Federal Register.

Published in Industry News
South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has fined seven local cable manufacturers a total of $14.7 million for bid rigging.

Per reports in The Pulse, The Korea Herald and the FTC, the companies—LS Cable & System Ltd., Taihan Electric Wire Co., Gaon Cable Co., Nexans Korea Ltd., Daewon Cable Co., Seoul Electric Wire Co. and Iljin Electric Co.—are accused of rigging bids for 37 tenders that were part of three separate contracts from Nov. 2011 to Oct. 2013. The bid winner would distribute the orders equally to the rest.

The FTC said in a statement that each company will be subjected to a fine of about US$2.5 million. It added that the case will be referred for prosecution. Korean courts have sentenced executives and employees that participated in the bid-rigging to imprisonment. In a 2014 case involving bid-rigging of cables used for nuclear power plants, three executives were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. That action was noteworthy as it was the first time such a sentence had been imposed.

In the latest case, the reports cited a Fair Trade Commission’s statement as saying that collusive tendering is rampant in the local electrical cable market because only a few selective bidders are allowed to take part and order volume and timing is often flexible. The manufacturers worked together more than 30 times to set bidding prices for three separate cable supply contracts and shared the work among themselves over a two-year period between 2011 and 2013. Each company will be subjected to a fine of about 2.5 billion won, the statement added.

While admitting to the wrongdoing, the cable companies said that they had taken such measures in the past to relieve oversupply issues that stemmed from overcapacity in the production bases here. The companies have imposed penalties on the individuals involved in collusion and no longer engage in such practices, industry sources added..
Published in Industry News
ACINOX, a Cuban company that manufactures stainless steel, has signed a contract valued at US$30 million with a Russian company to modernize its production of wire rod.

A report at spanacom.com said that ACINOX signed an agreed with Russia’s YUMZ signed the contract to modernize a wire rod manufacturing plant at the 35th International Fair of Havana, (FIHAV 2017). The deal calls for the supply of a complete wire rolling line, including the furnace, as well as machinery to produce the wire rod at a plant in the eastern Cuban province of Las Tunas.

The story cited ACINOX Director Enrique Pazos as telling the state Cuban News Agency that the investment will allow up to 177,000 tons annual production once the project starts operating at the beginning of 2020. YUMZ will subcontract a "highly qualified and experienced Italian entity," which will supply 60% of the equipment required for the investment, he said. The Russian company will also participate in the process of commissioning the updated line and will be responsible for the training of Cuban personnel will work in the production.

The story said that Russia was one of the 63 countries that attended FIHAV. Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Georgy Kalamanov, who heads the delegation of his country to the Cuban Fair, said that there are other projects are also planned to expand collaboration in the chemical industry, to modernize the light steel industry, and areas of maritime transport and agriculture. Russia was described as the fourth most active partner of Cuba, behind China, Venezuela and Spain. Of note, it said that, "In addition to strengthening cooperation economic-three years ago, Russia canceled 90% of the debt incurred by the island...as both countries support each other in the political arena."

Published in Industry News

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