Six U.S. pipe makers and the United Steelworkers (USW) recently applauded the U.S. Department of Commerce for its preliminary finding that Chinese producers of circular welded pipe are dumping below-cost product in the United States. The Commerce Department will impose antidumping duties on China pipe exports at an average rate of 25.67 percent.

Individual company margins range from zero to 51.34 percent. These antidumping duties are in addition to the antisubsidy duties imposed by the Commerce Department on November 6, 2007, when it was determined that the government of China was illegally subsidizing Chinese pipe makers. Circular welded steel pipe products, known as standard and structural pipe, are used in plumbing applications, HVAC systems, sprinkler systems, fencing and construction.

The pipe imports subject to the petition against China have surged from 10,000 tons in 2002 to more than 750,000 tons in 2007 - a 6,900 percent increase. The result has been the loss of 500 American jobs, approximately 25 percent of the total workforce employed in this segment of the domestic pipe industry.

Once the new tariffs are published in the Federal Register, typically within five days, importers will be required to post bonds in the amount of the dumping margins calculated by the Department. The Department of Commerce has also applied critical circumstances, determining that this duty could be applied retroactively by 90 days.

The trade suit, filed in parallel with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the Department of Commerce on June 7, 2007, was brought by the Ad Hoc Coalition for Fair Pipe Imports From China and the United Steelworkers. The Ad Hoc Coalition includes Allied Tube & Conduit, IPSCO Tubulars Inc., Northwest Pipe Co., Sharon Tube Co., Western Tube & Conduit Corp. and Wheatland Tube Co. On July 20, 2007, the ITC made a finding that circular welded pipe from China is causing material injury to the U.S. industry.

After the Department of Commerce makes final determinations in both the antisubsidy duty and antidumping duty investigations, the U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to complete its final investigation in the spring of 2008.