I don't normally go around inspecting fork steerers, but I suspect that's highly abnormal and a significant cause for concern.
I don't clearly see torn fibers. If you did, that should mean the steerer got gouged in transit. Raoul Luescher is a carbon fiber repairer and consultant with extensive aerospace and bicycle industry experience. He describes some common manufacturing issues with carbon fiber. I think that the gouges might be related to porosity, which stems from improper compaction.
Basically, carbon fiber is a bunch of sheets of little carbon threads. These are immersed in resin, and then the assembly is baked at high temperature and pressure. The carbon plies and the resin are supposed to compact, i.e. come together. If are holes, i.e. porosity, this compromises the structure's strength. (Although normally I would suspect that porosity is inside the structure, not on the surface.) Alternatively, you can have areas that have too much resin, where the resin pooled and perhaps disrupted optimal compaction, or you can have areas with too little resin where some carbon fiber is left exposed. Either of these are bad as well.
Without a background in the subject, I can't be sure what caused these surface imperfections. They definitely look out of the ordinary for a new component.
I suspect you are correct that normal factory quality control would have caught this item and probably destroyed it. In theory, I have heard speculation that some people resell factory second items, like ones that were QC rejected. There are cases where factory seconds with only cosmetic issues get sold. To my knowledge, in the bike industry, these tend to be for accessories. For example, Spurcycle, which makes very high quality and expensive bells has an annual sale on what they call "Frankenbells". These have cosmetic but not functional defects. I haven't seen cosmetic seconds sold as new equipment in official distribution channels. It does seem possible that the rough spots in the steerer might only be cosmetic. However, that steerer is taking a lot of load, and I wouldn't chance it. This isn't a case of paint chips on a used carbon bike.