Steel tariffs aid U.S. producers

Industry leaders complained on overseas prices, subsidies

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The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday approved imposing tariffs on imports of steel pipe from South Korea and five other countries, providing relief to Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel and other domestic producers.

U.S. steelmakers filed a complaint in July 2013 against nine countries that were importing tubular products used by the energy industry, claiming the steel was being sold here at below market prices or subsidized by foreign governments.

The ITC agreed that was the case with imports from South Korea, India, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam. Imports from the Philippines and Thailand have not materially injured domestic steel producers, the trade commission ruled. It recently dropped the ninth country targeted, Saudi Arabia, from the complaint.

“We still consider this a resounding victory for U.S. steel producers,” said Philip Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association.

Mr. Bell said the wave of unfair imports has prevented U.S. steelmakers from capitalizing on massive investments they made in response to booming domestic production of oil and natural gas. Imports of the so-called oil country tubular goods have captured about half of the U.S. market, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, another industry group.

“We need continued enforcement of our trade laws to combat these unfair imports,” institute president Thomas Gibson said.

The six countries cited by the ITC accounted for more than 90 percent of the unfairly traded imports that entered the United States last year, according to Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel president and CEO. In a company-issued statement, Mr. Longhi said U.S. Steel will consider its options, including pursuing the case against Saudi Arabia.

“The dumped imports from all nine countries have caused material injury to the American market and the American worker. Orders have been reduced, mills idled and jobs have been lost,” he said.

U.S. Steel, one of the producers who filed the complaint, announced in June that it would idle tubular plants in McKeesport and Belleville, Texas, because of the glut caused by imports.


Len Boselovic: 412-263-1941 or lboselovic@post-gazette.com

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