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U.S. Steel leads dumping case

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By John D. Oravecz
Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Nine steel producers including U.S. Steel Corp. filed a trade case with government regulators on Tuesday claiming nine nations dumped oil and natural gas pipe products in the United States at below cost.

The case will be the largest and most important in steel industry history, said analyst Michelle Applebaum in Chicago.

The antidumping action was filed with the Dept. of Commerce and the International Trade Commission over imported pipe from India, South Korea and seven other nations.

The steel industry said imports have surged 111 percent in recent years from those countries, causing “material injury” to domestic producers of so-called oil country tubular goods.

Imports from those countries surged to 1.77 million tons in 2012 from 840,313 tons in 2010, said Thomas J. Gibson, CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institue, the industry's trade association.

“U.S. laws against unfair trade exist to counter market-distoring practices, like subsidies, and to restore conditions of fair trade,” Gibson said. “We applaud these domestic companies for taking a stand.”

David Phelps, president of the American Institute for International Steel, which supports free trade, said, “We believe that this massive filing is excessive and unwarranted and will disrupt the critical oil and gas drilling market.”

Petitioners include TMK IPSCO, which has two plants in Beaver County; Vallourec Star, with a tubing plant in Youngstown, Ohio; Boomberang Tube; Energex Tube, a unit of JMC Steel; Maverick Tube Corp.; Northwest Pipe Co.; Tejas Products; and Welded Tube USA Inc. U.S. Steel has tubing plants in Mc-Keesport and Lorain, Ohio. Steel sheet from its Irvin plant in West Mifflin is used to make pipe to transport natural gas.

Applebaum said the case against the nine countries totals half of all oil and natural gas pipe imports into the United States. Other countries cited in the petitions are the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam, she said.

“This case — if won — would be a landmark record win for the U.S. steel industry as it would essentially provide a Chinese Wall of defense against imported OCTG as well as transhipped product from China, which is a major problem today,” Applebaum said.

Producers including U.S. Steel won duties averaging 86 percent on Chinese oil and gas pipe in a similar case in 2009.

John D. Oravecz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7882 or joravecz@tribweb.com.

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