Domestic steel pipe producers, including a company based in Export, won a small victory on Monday when a government agency said it will continue its investigation of foreign steel importers.
The U.S. International Trade Commission said there is sufficient evidence to suggest that U.S.-based producers are being hurt by the import practices of six countries: Canada, China, Greece, India, South Korea and Turkey.
Producers from those countries are accused of “dumping” large-diameter welded pipe into the United States — that is, selling the product at less than its fair value. Such practices can hurt domestic producers by putting them at a competitive disadvantage, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in February.
The agency's finding means that the U.S. Commerce Department can continue itsantidumping and countervailing duty investigations of the six countries. The investigations will determine if the pipe is being dumped and if the companies are receiving unfair subsidies from foreign governments.
The investigations were launched after six domestic producers, including Dura-Bond Industries in Export, filed petitions with the ITC in January. A preliminary hearing was held in February.
Dura-Bond makes and coats large-diameter steel pipe mostly for use by the oil and gas industry at facilities in Export, Duquesne, McKeesport and Steelton.
The ITC finding came just days after President Trump announced his intention to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports – 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.
The new policy was pursuant to a finding by the Commerce Department that a glut of cheap imports was hurting domestic steel producers and, thus, posing a threat to national security.
Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 authorizes the commerce secretary to investigate the impact that imports are having on national security.
Last year, Dura-Bond and several other U.S. pipe producers sent a letter to Trumpasking him to impose tariffs and take other protective actions under Section 232.
The Commerce Department's report to the president in February included recommendations that he consider either:
• A global tariff of at least 24 percent on all steel imports from all countries;
• A tariff of at least 53 percent on all steel imports from 12 countries; or
• A quota on all steel products from all countries equal to 63 percent of each country's 2017 exports to the U.S.
“Each of these remedies is intended to increase domestic steel production from its present 73 percent of capacity to approximately an 80 percent operating rate, the minimum rate needed for the long-term viability of the industry,” the Commerce Department said