The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday announced a preliminary determination that imports of corrosion-resistant steel from China, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan injured the U.S. steel industry.

In a unanimous vote, the six commissioners "determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is threatened with material injury."

The move comes a little more than a month after the major U.S. steel producers petitioned the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission to apply anti-dumping duties or fees against steel imports from those countries.

The petitioners included Steel Dynamics, Inc., AK Steel Corp., ArcelorMittal USA, California Steel Industries, Nucor Corporation and U.S. Steel.

Nearly all of those companies have links to Minnesota's Iron Range, either buying taconite iron ore pellets or owning mills and mines. The companies claim that the increased below-cost imports of steel have reduced demand, in some cases forcing mill closures that have led to layoffs at Minnesota operations.

They claim that imports of corrosion-resistant sheet steel increased 85 percent - from 1.5 million to 2.75 million tons - between 2012 and 2014 from the five subject countries. Additionally, the countries have increased their tonnage of the imports more than 30 percent, from 600,000 tons to 800,000 tons, in the first quarter of 2015, more than doubling their share between 2012 and the end of March 2015.

"We are pleased the ITC has confirmed that the flood of unfairly traded imports of corrosion-resistant sheet steel has materially impacted our shipments, pricing and profitability," said Mark D. Millett, chief executive office of Steel Dynamics. "SDI believes in fair trade, but the U.S. has become a dumping ground for world excess steel capacity."

The Department of Commerce is expected to make preliminary determinations in the countervailing duty cases by Aug. 27 and in the antidumping cases by Nov. 10.

The U.S. International Trade Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency with broad investigative responsibilities on matters of trade. The agency investigates the effects of dumped and subsidized imports on domestic industries and conducts global safeguard investigations. The commission also adjudicates cases involving imports that allegedly infringe on intellectual property rights.