Brown and Portman Applaud International Trade Commission’s Preliminary Vote in Favor of Defending Ohio Steel Pipe Producers from Illegal Foreign Trade Practices

Brown and Portman Previously Urged the Commerce Department to Protect Ohio Workers & Business Following its Announcement to Probe Nine Countries Accused of Illegally Selling Steel Pipe

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) today applauded the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) preliminary vote in favor of protecting domestic producers of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) from foreign competitors that use unfair and illegal trade practices.  The ITC voted 6-0 affirmative this morning as to all nine countries in the OCTG case - India, Korea, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.  This preliminary decision comes almost a month after Portman and Brown urged the ITC to protect Ohio workers and businesses during the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s (DOC) probe into allegations that nine countries are illegally selling steel pipe at unfairly low prices in the United States. 

“I am pleased with the ITC’s unanimous ruling to stand up for Ohio-based companies that produce Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) support many good-paying jobs in our state,” said Portman.  “I hope that the ITC will continue to recognize the importance of protecting these American manufactured goods and punishing foreign companies who are flooding our markets with unfairly imported cheap products as the DOC’s investigations continue and the final determinations are made. Our businesses and thousands of American workers are at risk. American manufactured goods must be allowed to compete with their global competitors on a level playing field.”

"This is good news for Ohio’s workers and manufacturers,” said Brown.  “This ITC decision is an important step towards defending Ohio based companies who have invested in our state. Companies and workers want a level playing field and trade enforcement is vital if we are going to make products and create jobs in Ohio and the United States.”

“This is an extremely important case for our company, and we are very pleased that the ITC decided to move forward with a full investigation," said John P. Surma, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of United States Steel Corporation.  “The support we have received from Senators Brown and Portman and many of their colleagues in Congress has been invaluable as we fight to maintain and grow employment in this country, and to push back against foreign unfair trading practices.”

OCTG are used for domestic oil exploration, particularly in the shale industry, and are produced in Ohio by companies including U. S. Steel in Lorain, Wheatland Tube Company in Warren, Vallourec Star in Youngstown, and TMK IPSCO in Brookfield. Each is among the plaintiffs accusing South Korea, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine of unfair and illegal trade practices.

OCTG imports from these countries have increased from 840,000 net tons in 2010 to more than 1,770,000 net tons in 2012, with the number continuing to rise. Despite today’s historically high level of demand for steel pipe, its domestic industry in the United States has deteriorated due to imports, which data shows, have consistently and substantially undersold the market. This has resulted in petitions that allege dumping margins of at least 30 percent, and in most cases, significantly more. 

Portman and Brown have long championed the American steel industry and fought to ensure it can compete fairly in the international trade market. In June 2013, Portman and Brown applauded the DOC preliminary ruling on a petition in favor of defending companies operating in Ohio from illegally traded steel pipe by ensuring antidumping duties (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) continue to be levied on illegally subsidized and intentionally undersold Chinese steel pipe imports. The announcement followed efforts by Portman and Brown to urge the DOC to protect companies operating in Ohio from unfair and illegal Chinese trade practices.

Earlier in May, Portman and Brown applauded U. S. Steel’s announcement that it would consider expanding its steeling operations in Lorain. Brown’s and Portman’s efforts were vital to ensuring U. S. Steel was provided necessary relief from Chinese steel pipe imports, and as a result, could maintain its facility in Lorain or potentially expand its operations.

In December 2012, Portman and Brown led a group of senators in urging the DOC to maintain AD and CVD on Chinese steel pipe imports.

Portman and Brown’s letter can be read in its entirety here.