The United Steelworkers (USW) is calling Friday’s order by the U.S.
Department of Commerce for proposed anti-dumping tariffs on China pipe
imports—known as oil country tubular goods (OCTG)—an overdue message for
thousands of American laid-off workers that trade laws are being enforced.
According to a statement released by the USW, the OCTG trade case is the
largest in U.S. history against China imports, valued at more than $2.6
billion in 2008 and about $1 billion last year. The U.S. government order
overall confirms China’s practice of dumping OCTG. This is the fifth pipe
and tube products dumping case since June 2007.
USW President Leo W. Gerard cited the Commerce Department’s order as
promising to U.S. producers with much of their workforces on layoff status.
“China’s government and exporters are being told we are fed up with their
cheating on our fair trade laws and penalties for these transgressions are
long overdue,” he said. “Consistent and swift U.S. trade law enforcement
must be the standard with our trading partners if we are to retain good jobs
and rebuild our economic manufacturing capacity.”
Pipe from 38 Chinese producers will be slapped with the 29.9 percent duties,
while all others will have a 99.1 percent duty, the statement said. The
tariff margins announced include: Jiangsu Changbao Steel Tube Company, 99.14
percent; and Tianjin Pipe Company (TPCO), 29.94 percent.
On April 8, 2009, seven domestic OCTG producers and the USW filed an
antidumping and countervailing duty trade case against China imports with
the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce
(DOC). OCTG is welded and seamless steel pipe used to extract oil or gas
from a drill well.
USW Vice President Tom Conway, who handles labor agreement negotiations with
the pipe companies, said the U.S. government investigation in the OCTG trade
cases “gives reason to believe there will be a callback of laid-off American
pipe workers who can share in the recovery of this industry once the
unfairly-traded Chinese import inventory is de-stocked.”
The seven producers of the OCTG petition include U.S. Steel Corporation.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in December determined that
the Chinese government has been subsidizing the pipe producers, and set
duties currently being collected at levels ranging from 10.3 percent to 15.8
percent on top of the prices the steel pipe was being sold for in the U.S.
Roger Schagrin, trade counsel for the USW, said the order allows the U.S. to
collect a bond that will go into an escrow fund for all future OCTG imports.
The next step in the trade cases will be an ITC final determination vote on