A decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to assess antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from seven nations was welcomed by domestic pipe manufacturers. Here are the details of the decision:
- Commerce imposed antidumping margins of up to 15.75 percent on Korean manufacturers, 9.88 percent on the Philippines, 118.32 percent on Thailand, 6.73 percent on Ukraine, between 24.22 and 11.47 percent on Vietnam, 2.69 percent on Saudi Arabia, and 2.52 percent on Taiwan.
- Commerce also imposed countervailing duties on imports of OCTG from India and Turkey, with subsidy rates of 5.67 percent to 19.11 percent on Indian producers and 2.53 to 15.89 percent on Turkish exporters.
The Commerce decision “is certainly a positive step for domestic [pipe] producers and a shot over the bow for importers.” Kurt Minnich, president of Pipe-Logix LLC, a Tusla Oklahoma-based market research firm, told Modern Metals.
U.S. Steel Corp., which announced June 2 that it would idle two tubular production facilities in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and Bellville, Texas, in early August as a result of a surge of below-market-price OCTG imports, is pleased with the government decision.
“The Department of Commerce’s intensive investigation and final decision shows that the dumping of OCTG transpired through unfair methods and market distorting pricing which caused material harm to the American market,” U.S. Steel president and CEO Mario Longhi stated.
“As a result of rising imports, United States Steel has suffered mightily: Orders have been reduced, mills have been idled and jobs have been lost. Our only recourse against such actions was with Commerce’s ability to support the rule of law and create a level playing field for American manufacturing,” he continued.
Commerce statistics show that OCTG imports from Korea rose 45.3 percent from 2011 to 2013, imports from Vietnam increased one and a half times, Taiwan exports grew 16.8 percent and Indian exports rose 6.1 percent over the same period.
The United Steelworkers union credited the government with listening “to thousands of hard-working Americans and took a stand for fairness on behalf of those workers and their employers.”
USW International President Leo W. Gerard commended the Commerce Department “for getting it right and reversing a preliminary decision that would have allowed South Korean steel producers to continue breaking trade rules with no consequences.”
David Mitch, President and CEO of TMK Ipsco, a Houston-based pipe producer, expressed optimism that Commerce’s findings “will be supported by the final ruling of the International Trade Commission,” expected Tuesday.
“We believe the trade case sets a precedent which will have a positive impact on future import prices, as the affected countries will want to avoid any further trade case investigations,” Mitch stated.
“It is critical that the U.S. government continues to aggressively and strictly enforce our trade laws to ensure that relief is provided to steelmakers and the nearly one million workers directly or indirectly supported by the steel industry,” Thomas J. Gibson, President and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said.
Philip Gibbs, metals analyst for Keybanc Capital Markets, Cleveland, said in a report that while he does not expect Korea, with a 15 to 20 percent share of the U.S. market, to stop exporting OCTG to the United States, “the affirmative determination should support firmer domestic OCTG pricing—up to $110 per ton versus early 2014 levels—prior to slated domestic supply-side additions over the next two years.”
Keybanc also views the decision “as a slight positive-to-neutral outcome" for such U.S. carbon sheet producers as AK Steel Holding Corp; ArcelorMittal USA Inc., Nucor Corp. and Steel Dynamics Inc.