ITC Votes Against China On Another Steel Trade Case

Dave Johnson

On Friday the US International Trade Commission (ITC) determined that US producers are harmed by Chinese “dumping” (selling below cost, government subsidies…) of seamless pipe. This was in response to a a joint petition of the United Steelworkers and U.S. pipe makers against China imports of seamless carbon and alloy steel line and pressure pipe.

BusinessWeek: Steel Pipe Makers Hurt by China Imports, U.S. ITC Says,

Makers of steel pipes used in oil refineries and chemical plants are being harmed by imports from China, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled today, a decision that will mean duties on $182 million of products.

The decision is the last of four that producers such as U.S. Steel Corp. and the U.S. subsidiary of France’s Vallourec SA, the world’s second-largest maker of steel tubes for oil and gas production, needed to win in order to get dumping and countervailing duties imposed on Chinese exporters.

“Without this decision, the U.S. industry would have completely lost the U.S. market,” Roger Schagrin, a lawyer at Schagrin and Associates in Washington, representing the U.S. producers, said in an interview. Even with duties, “it’s going to be a slow recovery in demand.”

From the USW response, USW Applauds Final ITC Vote for Duties on Seamless Pipe China Imports:

“The U.S. Commerce Dept. will now make final adjustments in the anti-dumping duties announced in September ranging from 48.99 percent to 98.74 percent to offset below-market pricing by Chinese exporters. It also said it would levy final countervailing duties of 13.66 percent to 53.65 percent to offset Chinese government subsidies.

. . . Tom Conway, USW International Vice President, who testified at the ITC hearing this past September, said: “Once again, the fate of USW members rests with the enforcement of our trade remedy laws. The USW-represented workers continually take the brunt of deliberate Chinese government policies that are not based on market principles, but rather on a model of state capitalism grounded in strategic goals for achieving market share in export markets and in ensuring that it is creating jobs for its workers.”

What does this mean? It means that we have a government that is gradually starting to enforce trade agreements again. The previous administration felt it was wrong to interfere with anything that was called “free trade” even when our trading partners were clearly violating agreements that we had in writing with them. They didn’t care, and refused to do anything about it. So we lost as many as 50,000 factories, and 1/3 of all of our manufacturing jobs since 2000.

The Obama administration s beginning to enforce agreements. The process is complicated and time-consuming but one at a time, these cases are being decided.

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