WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) today led a group of senators in urging the Commerce Department to maintain antidumping duties (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) on Chinese steel pipe imports. Oil country tubular goods (OCTG) are used for domestic oil exploration, particularly in the shale industry, and are produced in Ohio by U.S. Steel in Lorain, V&M STAR in Youngstown, Wheatland Tube in Warren, and JMC Steel in Brookfield.
“The oil country tubular steel industry supports hundreds of good-paying Ohio jobs that are vulnerable to unfair trade practices carried out by the Chinese, including currency manipulation and duty evasion,” Sen. Brown said. “Our workers can compete with anyone on a level playing field, and import duties help do exactly that. Maintaining import duties is critical to ensuring that the steel pipe industry in Ohio remains intact.”
“Several Ohio-based companies are leaders in the production of oil country tubular goods (OCTG), bringing many jobs to our state during a time of stubbornly high unemployment and weak economic growth,” Sen. Portman said. “Unfortunately, however, the U.S. industry and thousands of American workers are at risk if important trade protections are watered-down, allowing cheap Chinese products to skirt American customs regulations. American manufactured goods must be on a level playing field with their global competitors, and I urge the Department of Commerce to protect these workers in Northeast Ohio and across the country.”
The letter, which was also signed by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Dan Coats (R-IN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Bob P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) can be seen below and here.
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 are writing to 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.