U.S. Steel listed among victims of pipe 'dumping'

Joe Napsha
| Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011

Eighteen domestic manufacturers of steel pipe used in fencing and sprinklers likely have been injured by Asian and Middle Eastern producers that sold pipe in the United States at below-market prices, says the International Trade Commission.

The commission reported Friday that its investigation found that welded, circular steel pipe from India, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam likely has been sold here at below-market prices.

About 12 percent of the 1.4 million tons of welded, circular steel pipe sold in the United Sates last year for $1.4 billion came from the four countries, said the trade agency, which began its investigation Oct. 26.

As a result of the ITC finding, the Commerce Department will continue to conduct an anti-dumping investigation and a probe to determine the amount of duties needed to offset the alleged subsidies, the commission said.

A preliminary decision of any offset duties that the government would levy on the foreign pipe is expected by Jan. 19. A preliminary decision on any additional anti-dumping duties would be made by April 3.

Two Pennsylvania-based pipe makers -- U.S. Steel Corp. in Pittsburgh and Wheatland Tube Co. in Mercer County -- were joined by Allied Tube and Conduit of Harvey, Ill., and JMC Steel Group of Chicago, in filing a petition seeking the investigation. The imports affect about plants in 16 states and about 1,465 employees.

U.S. Steel and Wheatland Tube spokesmen could not be reached for a comment.

The investigation is the latest in a long line of trade complaints against foreign pipe producers.

In 2008, the United States placed levies on $200 million worth of steel pipe from South Korea, Mexico and China. The offsetting duties were as high as 200 percent of the pipe's price. The anti-dumping duties, to make up for products sold at below-market prices, was as high as 265 percent.

China reacted by filing a trade complaint with the World Trade Organization on different products, but its objections were rejected.

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