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US steel pipe firms seek anti-dumping duty on 9 nations

Author: AJOT | Jul 02 2013 at 08:00 PM | Category: International Trade  

A group of steel pipe makers in the United States has urged the U.S. International Trade Commission to consider imposing anti-dumping duties on what they say is a flood of unfairly traded products from nine countries.

The petition, filed on behalf of companies including U.S. Steel Corp, asked the commission to investigate imports of certain steel pipe products used mainly in the oil and gas industry from India, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.

The plaintiffs also want countervailing duties on certain oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from India and Turkey.
Shares in steel tubes and pipes makers Vallourec, Tenaris and U.S. Steel surged on the news.

U.S. steel manufacturing has been hit by weaker demand in the past year, but steel pipe sales to the oil sector have been a bright spot for the domestic industry and have led to an increase in imports.

“Regardless of whether the measures go through or not, this will impact the market very soon as people are worried about retroactive measures, and most will probably not import material from these nine countries from next month,” a U.S.-based steel trader said.

“This will benefit domestic producers of tubes and pipes and domestic producers of steel hot rolled coil, which is used to make them. We should see an increase in demand and prices in the next few weeks already,” he added.

Importers criticised the petition, filed with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission.

“We believe that this massive filing is excessive and unwarranted and will disrupt the critical oil and gas drilling market,” the American Institute for International Steel, a group representing steel importers and exporters, said.

Imports of OCTG from the nine countries cited in the petition have doubled in the past few years to almost 1.8 million tonnes and accounted for about 63 percent of the U.S. market last year, according to steel industry body American Iron and Steel Institute.
“The countries that had been selling the products into the U.S. below cost or at very aggressive pricing will probably hold back,” Nomura Securities New York-based analyst Curt Woodworth said.

In the long term, however, “one of the broader concerns is that a fair amount of capacity is going to be built globally, especially in the United States”, he said.

The petitioners also included Maverick Tube Corporation , Boomerang Tube, Energex Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group, Northwest Pipe Company, Tejas Tubular Products, TMK IPSCO, Vallourec Star, L.P. Steel.

U.S. steelmakers have stepped up efforts in the last year to battle growing steel imports as falling global steel prices encouraged producers, especially in emerging countries, to sell more aggressively into the United States.

In March, U.S. steel companies urged Congress and the White House to take action against steel imported from China, partly by reforming trade laws to make it easier to win import protection.

China launched its own investigation in May into the alleged dumping of seamless steel tubes and pipes by companies from the United States, Europe and Japan. The Ministry of Commerce did not name the companies under investigation. (Reuters)