U.S. standard pipe producers applauded the Oct. 3, 2005 decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in the Section 421 investigation on imports of circular welded non-alloy steel pipe “standard pipe” from China. The Commission issued a 4-2 affirmative vote indicating that increased imports from China were a significant cause or threatened to cause market disruption to the United States industry and its workers.
Under Section 421, the Commission transmitted its report and remedy recommendation to the President and the U.S. Trade Representative. The Trade Representative will oversee the interagency process that will include public hearings on remedy for the industry. The timetable as established by the 421 statute provides USTR with 55 days for review and upon presentation to the President, an additional 15 days for the President's final review and determination.
The companies who joined in filing this petition on August 2, 2005 are: Allied Tube & Conduit, IPSCO Tubulars, Maruichi American, Maverick Tube, Sharon Tube, Western Tube & Conduit, Wheatland Tube. They were joined by the United Steelworkers (USW) union, which sent scores of workers to the hearing from plants in Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The industry employs approximately 2,500 workers.
According to the petition, Chinese imports of standard pipe have surged from 9,000 tons in 2002 to 266,000 tons in 2004 and nearly 200,000 tons in the first half of this year. Chinese pipe prices are less than the cost of raw materials. The impact on U.S. pipe makers has caused shipment levels to plummet, and layoffs and wage reductions for domestic pipe workers.
Standard pipe is used to convey water, steam and gases in plumbing, HVAC, fire sprinklers and other applications. Welded standard pipes are joined by forming flat-rolled steel into a tubular configuration and welding it along the joint.
The trade case was filed under Section 421, passed by Congress in 2000 when China was granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations by the U.S. to protect domestic industries from import surges from China. The ITC in three previous Section 421 cases ruled that Chinese imports caused material injury to the domestic industries involved.
Other ITC actionsThe ITC issued several other rulings during September and October that impact the PVF industry.
The Commission voted to expedite its five-year “sunset” reviews concerning the antidumping duty orders on imports of forged stainless steel flanges from India and Taiwan. The Uruguay Round Agreements Act requires the Department of Commerce to revoke an antidumping or countervailing duty order, or terminate a suspension agreement, after five years unless the Department of Commerce and the ITC determine that revoking the order or terminating the suspension agreement would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping or subsidies (Commerce) and of material injury (ITC) within a reasonably foreseeable time.
The Commission generally does not hold a hearing or conduct further investigative activities in expedited reviews. Commissioners base their injury determinations in expedited reviews on the facts available, including the Commission's prior injury and review determinations, responses received to its notice of institution, data collected by staff in connection with the review, and information provided by the Department of Commerce.
All six Commissioners concluded that the domestic group response for this review was adequate and the respondent group responses were inadequate and voted for expedited reviews.
Pipe & tube
Similarly, the ITC voted to conduct full five-year “sunset” reviews concerning the countervailing duty and antidumping duty orders on imports of certain pipe and tube from Argentina, Brazil, India, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.
With respect to welded carbon steel pipe and tube from Turkey and circular welded non-alloy steel pipe from Mexico, all six Commissioners concluded that both the domestic and respondent group responses were adequate and voted for full reviews.
With respect to welded carbon steel pipe and tube from Thailand and India, small-diameter carbon steel pipe and tube from Taiwan, and circular welded non-alloy steel pipe from Brazil, Korea, and Taiwan, all six Commissioners concluded that the domestic group responses were adequate and the respondent group responses were inadequate, but that circumstances warranted full reviews.
With respect to light-walled rectangular pipe and tube from Argentina and Taiwan, three commissioners concluded that the domestic group responses were adequate and the respondent group responses were inadequate, but that circumstances warranted full reviews; three other commissioners concluded that the domestic group responses were adequate and the respondent group responses were inadequate and voted for expedited reviews.
Stainless butt-weld fittings
The ITC also upheld the existing antidumping duty orders on stainless steel butt-weld pipe fittings from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Five of the six commissioners voted in favor of continuance, with one not participating in this review.