Members of the Congressional Steel Caucus are urging the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to approve antidumping and countervailing duties on standard steel pipe from four foreign nations. Steel Caucus Chairman Rep. Tim Murphy (PA-18) and Vice-Chairman Rep. Peter Visclosky (IN-01) released the below letter urging the ITC to enforce global trade rules, and stop a surge of unfairly traded imports that can lead to domestic steel pipe makers shutting down production and laying off workers. The letter was signed by 22 Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
"Despite boasting the most efficient steel industry in the world, America can't compete when foreign countries cheat on trade," said Congressman Tim Murphy. "By subsidizing their industry and selling pipe at below-market prices, foreign governments are putting Americans out of work and holding back our economy. I urge the International Trade Commission to apply these penalties and uphold the integrity of our international trade agreements."
"All over the country, our world-class workforce in steel and manufacturing is under the constant threat of unfair foreign competition," said Congressman Peter Visclosky. "Every case before the United States International Trade Commission is an opportunity to fix the imbalances created by countries that do not follow the rules of global trade, and this case is no different. Now more than ever, we must stand up and protect American jobs."
Dumping occurs when a foreign company sells a product in the United States at prices far less than the market rate. Foreign companies, many of which are subsidized by their host governments, try to sell steel in the US at prices below the cost of production in order to undermine the free market and injure the US steel industry. On May 24, 2012, the Commerce Department announced that steel producers from India, Vietnam, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were dumping steel pipe used in construction and plumbing work onto the US market. In order to combat these low rates, the Commerce Dept. has instructed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to require a cash deposit or bond based on these preliminary duties, which are detailed in the letter.
Copy of the Steel Caucus Letter:
October 17, 2012
The Honorable Irving Williamson
U.S. International Trade Commission
Dear Chairman Williamson:
We write to urge the U.S. International Trade Commission ("ITC") to apply antidumping ("AD") and countervailing duty ("CVD") orders on unfairly-traded imports of Circular Welded Carbon-Quality Steel Pipe from India, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. These orders are critical to the economic vitality of the U.S. pipe and steel pipe industry and its workers.
Circular welded pipe, also commonly known as "standard pipe," is one of the key products made for plumbing, construction and fire safety applications. The pipe industry is also an important customer for domestic steelmakers, which produce the flat-rolled steel made into welded steel pipe. Vibrant pipe and steel sectors are essential for continued domestic economic growth and job creation in construction and heavy manufacturing.
As members who represent workers and facilities manufacturing steel and steel pipe and tube products, we are deeply concerned about the impact of unfairly-traded imports on the industry and communities across the country. An investigation by the Department of Commerce has carefully documented how foreign producers are receiving significant government subsidies, allowing them to sell pipe into the U.S. market at prices below fair value. The Department investigation clearly shows that these imports have depressed U.S. prices and injured domestic industries.
As reported by the petitioners, imports from the four countries almost doubled from 106,172 tons in 2009 to 206,026 in 2011. The antidumping and countervailing duty cases were filed on October 26, 2011; the ITC issued an affirmative preliminary decision on December 12, 2011. On March 27, 2012, the Commerce Department announced its affirmative preliminary determinations in the CVD investigations on certain steel pipe from India and Vietnam, and its negative preliminary determinations on certain steel pipe from Oman and the UAE. The Department preliminarily determined that Indian and Vietnamese producers received countervailable subsidies of 283.95 percent, and 0.04 to 8.06 percent, respectively.
With regard to the antidumping investigation, on May 24, 2012 the Department announced affirmative preliminary determinations, finding that producers from India, Vietnam, Oman and the UAE sold certain pipe in the United States at dumping margins (or margin ranges) of 48.43 percent; 0.00 percent to 27.96 percent; 5.59 percent; and 3.29 percent to 11.71 percent. The Department is expected to issue its final determinations on October 15, 2012.
These unfairly traded imports have led to the significant loss of market share and employment for the domestic industry despite a gradual recovery in demand. In these uncertain economic times it is even more important that relief is provided to an industry and workforce that have been injured by unfair trade practices. These companies and their employees have fought long and hard to compete on a level playing field. Ensuring that the trade laws are applied in this matter will provide them with the opportunity to continue to compete now and into the future.
Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to comment for the record. The final injury hearing in this matter is scheduled at the Commission on October 17, 2012 and we ask that this letter is included in the hearing record.
Peter J. Visclosky