·  USW

USW'S Conway says final China import duties needed on line pipe

For Immediate Release:  November 25, 2008 
Contact:  Gary Hubbard,   202-778-4384; 202-256-8125

Washington, DC (Nov. 25) – Thomas M. Conway, Vice President of the United Steelworkers (USW), testified yesterday before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to urge a final determination against illegal China imports of circular welded carbon quality line pipe produced by ten domestic companies that are used in the oil and gas distribution industry.

Citing the current crisis economy, he told the trade commissioners: “Our workers should not have to face another surge of imports from companies in China that have been proven to engage in unfair trade on a massive scale.” The USW joined in filing the petition this past April with three of 10 domestic producers representing about 1,100 production workers in 12 states.

A final vote by the ITC is expected in late December.

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) completed its investigation on the trade case Nov. 18, announcing that imports of Chinese steel line pipe are receiving government subsidies of about 36 and 40 percent. Imports of pipe from China increased from 27,000 tons, or $25.1 million in 2005 -- to more than ten times that level, or 277,000 tons last year at $256.1 million. Dumping margins applied by the DOC range from 69 to 86 percent.

In addition to the USW, petitioners in the case are Maverick Tube Corp., Houston; U.S. Steel Corp., Pittsburgh; and Tex-Tube Co., Houston.

Conway made a personal plea, “Imagine what it would be like to see your job put at risk – not because of anything you did wrong, not because of factors beyond anyone’s control, but simply because your government did nothing to prevent a flood of dumped and subsidized imports from slamming into this market. What kind of message does that send to hardworking Americans?”

Between 2005 and 2007, U.S. line pipe demand rose 58 percent, but the subsidized China imports captured most of the market increase. “This case is an example of claiming our market through subsidization and currency manipulation, rather than straight dumping as practiced by China in the past,” Conway explained.

He said the USW and domestic pipe producers identified 65 Chinese companies that made welded line pipe, but only one foreign producer responded to the questionnaire request of the U.S. government investigation.

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