WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) urged the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to protect Ohio-based companies like U.S. Steel from illegal Chinese trade practices by maintaining antidumping duties (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) on Chinese steel pipe imports. Their effort comes in advance of an expected DOC ruling this week on a petition regarding product coverage for duties ordered on Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) from China.
“U.S. Steel is a vital part of Lorain’s and Ohio’s economies and must be defended from unfairly traded Chinese imports,” Brown said. “We have trade laws to defend companies like U.S. Steel who work hard and play by the rules. Import duties ensure others do the same so we can continue to build things and create jobs in Ohio and the United States.”
“Ohio-based companies that produce Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) support many good jobs in our state,” Portman said. “Unfortunately, our businesses and thousands of American workers are at risk if important trade protections are watered-down, allowing cheap Chinese products to flood our domestic markets. American manufactured goods must be allowed to compete with their global competitors on a level playing field.”
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, V&M STAR in Youngstown, Wheatland Tube in Warren, and JMC Steel in Brookfield.
Brown and Portman have long championed the American steel industry and fought to ensure it can compete fairly against the Chinese and in the international trade market. Earlier this month Brown and Portman 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, Brown and Portman led a group of senators in urging the Commerce Department to maintain AD and CVD on Chinese steel pipe imports. In 2009, Brown also testified before the ITC to advocate for the defense of U.S. steel and domestic steel pipe producers from unfair OCTG. The ITC's ruling led to a border measure on imports to support domestic producers of steel pipe. By addressing illegal Chinese trade practices, this decision helped increase demand for domestic production.
Brown’s and Portman’s letter can be read in its entirety below:
The Honorable Rebecca M. Blank
Acting Secretary of Commerce
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
Dear Secretary Blank:
We understand that a ruling is forthcoming and want to again urge the Department of Commerce to maintain the scope of antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from China, and extend all efforts within your authority to prevent circumvention and evasion of these orders which have provided relief to the U.S. industry and American workers hurt by dumped and subsidized OCTG imports from China. Since 2010, these orders have been instrumental in helping to level the trade playing field against China’s unfair trade practices and protect jobs in our states.
Unfortunately, these orders have been undermined by a variety of schemes designed to weaken them. These efforts include outright evasion and circumvention of the orders as well as less obvious but equally harmful attempts to narrow their scope. If successful, these ploys will enable Chinese companies to dump massive quantities of subsidized Chinese OCTG into the United States without paying the AD and CVD duties that they rightfully owe. The consequences are significant. Chinese actions will result in further injury to the thousands of American workers and businesses as well as the weakening of U.S. trade law.
Therefore, it is essential that the United States effectively enforce these AD and CVD orders against the full range of Chinese OCTG products. For example, it is critical that the Department emphasize to those who would seek to narrow the scope of the orders that mere processing of OCTG from China in third countries through heat treatment or other finishing operations does not change its country-of-origin to exempt it from AD and CVD duties. More generally, it is important that the Department work closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to make sure that schemes to evade these orders are detected and prevented.
Thank you for your consideration and your continued work to ensure that the AD and CVD orders are effectively administered and strongly enforced.