June 8, 2007--Six U.S. producers of welded standard steel pipe and the United Steelworkers (USW) filed petitions with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission alleging that imports of welded standard pipe from China into the United States are being dumped and subsidized by the government of China. The industry seeks to have the agencies impose duties to off-set Chinese government subsidization and dumping.
Chinese imports of circular standard and structural pipe have increased from 10,000 tons in 2002 to 690,000 tons in 2006, a 6,800% increase. Since the unfair trade began four U. S. plants (out of 35) have ceased production and over 500 employees have lost their jobs.
The surge has continued, with a 21% rise in the first quarter of 2007. Imports of standard pipe from China represent over 60% of total U. S. imports of such products.
The petitioners in this case are Allied Tube & Conduit; IPSCO Tubulars, Inc.; Northwest Pipe Company; Sharon Tube Company; Western Tube & Conduit Corporation; and Wheatland Tube Company, as well as the United Steelworkers.
The unfair Chinese trade practices documented in the filing include sales at less than fair value and subsidies to the Chinese industry. The alleged margins of dumping range as high as 88%. Subsidies documented include policy loans, land use programs, tax subsidies, input material subsidies, grants, and export tax subsidies. The petition also addresses an export subsidy nominally known as a value added tax (“VAT”) rebate program. This rebate is discretionary and excessive. The Government of China uses this particular program to provide an advantage to Chinese exports in global markets. The domestic industry affected in this case employs approximately 2,000 hourly workers at some 35 plants nationwide, including in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Most employees are represented by the USW.
The petitioners allege that the imports have adversely affected the domestic industry and its workers, with the U.S. industry has undergone substantial consolidation in recent years.
Under the antidumping and countervailing duty statutes, the International Trade Commission will make a preliminary injury determination by the end of July 2007; the Dept. of Commerce should issue preliminary determinations in the countervailing duty and antidumping duty cases in October and November of 2007.