Commission renews trade rules for China

The U.S. International Trade Commission has renewed anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on oil country tubular goods coming from China.

The commission on Tuesday “determined that revoking the existing anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on oil country tubular goods from China would be likely lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time,” according to a news release from the commission.

OCTGs are seamless rolled products consisting of drill pipe, casing and tubing used for domestic oil exploration, especially shale.

Tuesday’s unanimous ruling by the six-member commission maintains the current duties and renews trade rules for OCTGs coming from China.

The renewal comes under the five-year, or sunset, review required by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act that calls for the commerce department to revoke an anti-dumping or countervailing duty order – or terminate a suspension agreement – after five years unless it is determined that revoking the order or terminating the suspension would likely lead to continued or recurring dumping, or selling, a product at “less than fair value.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he’s pleased with the ruling “reaffirming that American manufacturing workers deserve to compete on a level playing field. Ohio pipe and tube workers are among the best in the world, but we must stand up to foreign competitors who break trade rules at the expense of Ohio workers.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also applauded the decision.

“When foreign companies don’t play by the rules, American companies deserve relief from unfair trade practices. “We know Ohio workers can compete with any foreign competitor, but they need a level playing field.”

Steel produced for the U.S. energy market, such as OCTGs, accounts for approximately 10 percent of domestic steel production and nearly 8,000 jobs nationwide.

In 2009, several companies with local ties, including Vallourec, parent company of Vallourec Star in Youngstown, TMK IPSCO, which has a plant in Brookfield, and Wheatland Tube Corp., based in Wheatland, Pa., filed an unfair trade complaint. U.S. Steel of Pittsburgh was also part of that complaint.

In May 2010, the trade commission made a determination that the industry was threatened by imports of certain tubes from China that had been sold in the United States at “less than fair value.”

In August, the USITC ruled in favor of domestic companies that argued they were being materially injured by unfair labor practices. The USITC assigned tariffs on some imports of pipes known as OCTGs.

On March 6, USITC agreed to expedite the scheduled five-year review of that ruling to determine whether revocation of the previous orders would “be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury within a reasonably foreseeable time.”

U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan said the decision keeps trade rules in place that allow the country to stay competitive.

“This decision proves that China remains steadfast in their attempts to undermine American industries and our workforce, and I will continue to do everything in my power to combat these unlawful attacks. American manufacturing is the backbone of our nation. We have the hardest-working, most productive workforce in the world, but they need a level playing field. I am pleased that this ruling allows them to continue to compete globally,” Ryan stated.