USW Hails Federal Panel Ruling for Tariffs on Imported Oil Pipe

   PITTSBURGH (PAI)–Marking yet another win in the continuing battle against unfair trade and subsidized imports, a key federal panel ruled for the Steelworkers in their complaint about subsidized imported oil country tubular goods (OCTG).


The International Trade Commission’s decision on August 25 “puts our domestic OCTG market one step closer to a level playing field for those products and the men and women who make them,” Steelworkers President Leo Gerard said.  The Steelworkers represent workers at leading U.S. oil pipe and tube factories.


The union and several steel firms brought the case to the federal government months ago.  They presented data showing that eight countries produced the pipes – which include everything from oil pipelines to fence posts – even though they had little to no domestic market for them.  The other nations are overproducing them for export and subsidizing the sales to the U.S., the data show.  The ITC approved tariffs on pipe from six of the nations.


“A U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of certain oil country tubular goods from India, Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined are sold in the United States at less than fair value and imports of these products that are subsidized by the governments of India and Turkey,” the ITC said in its decision.  ITC said imports from those nations had grabbed 39.6 percent of the U.S. market in 2013.


The vote to impose tariffs on Taiwan was 4-1.  The vote to impose them on the five other nations was 5-0.  The commission voted, 3-2, that imports from the Philippines and Thailand did not hurt the U.S. industry.  “As a result of USITC’s affirmative determinations, the Department of Commerce will issue countervailing duty orders on imports of these products from India and Turkey and anti-dumping duty orders on imports from India, Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam,” the commission said.


“It’s been a long road to get here and the effort is far from over,” Gerard said.  “But this vote is another tribute to the workers who stood up, spoke out and fought for their jobs and fair trade.  Enforcement of our trade laws is critical and we thank the commissioners for agreeing.  Both they and the Department of Commerce have been inundated by the flood of unfairly traded goods into our markets.


The OCTG decision is yet another piece of evidence, Gerard said, that Congress should rewrite U.S. trade laws to enact and enforce fair trade, which aids U.S. workers and firms, not classic “free trade,” which hurts them.


“Having our government enforce the laws should not be seen as a political gift to workers or as the grease needed to slip a trade agreement through Congress. Enforcement is our right and the agencies that enforce these laws should be robustly funded and staffed for their critical work.  Too often, when our laws are violated by our trading partners, it is workers and not their government who have to fight for what’s right.” And the fight, he noted, can’t start until after the firms have lost sales and their U.S. workers have lost their jobs.

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