The Department of Commerce announced today that it found significant dumping by South Korean companies in its final determination in a trade case on Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) – high-value steel products used in the extraction of oil and natural gas that play a critical role in America’s quest to become energy independent.
Said Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul:
"Today is a good day for America’s steelworkers and OCTG producers, and also a good day for the U.S. economy. The outpouring of bipartisan support from Congress and the thousands of workers who took the time to make their voices heard underscored the importance of this decision. We hope the International Trade Commission will come to the same, fact-based conclusion."
Today’s announcement follows a February preliminary determination in which Commerce failed to assign dumping margins on South Korea’s imports, despite the fact that it has no domestic market of its own, represents more than half of all OCTG imports, and has shipped goods to the U.S. market at prices below fair value in deceptive ways designed to circumvent international trade laws.
The critical next step in this case is at the International Trade Commission (ITC), which is tasked with determining whether the petitioning OCTG producers and their workers have been injured or are threatened with injury as a result of the dumping by South Korea and eight other subject countries, as determined by Commerce. The ITC is set to hold a hearing on the matter on Tuesday, July 15.
Responding to what was considered a flawed and incomplete preliminary analysis, 57 Senators and 155 Members of Congress wrote to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker asking for a full investigation. In addition, thousands of workers around the country rallied to highlight the importance of steelmaking to their community and to the U.S. economy. AAM hosted large-scale rallies in Lorain, OH; Granite City, IL; Munhall, PA; Lone Star, TX; Fairfield, AL; and, Virginia, MN, with workers demanding a level playing field and full enforcement of our nation’s trade laws. Over 50,000 letters were also sent to elected officials urging a full investigation.
Despite these efforts, the alarming and rapid surge of unfairly traded imports has already had a devastating impact on domestic steelmaking operations, including layoffs in Lorain, OH, and the idling of plants in Bellville, TX and McKeesport, PA.
“The damage already done to our domestic steel industry is severe,” said Paul. “It calls into question the adequacy of our trade laws to proactively address market distortions by our trading partners.”
Past history shows that strong trade enforcement can yield positive results, but only if our government fully investigates and utilizes the tools it has at its disposal. In 2008, antidumping duties were levied to halt a staggering surge of dumped Chinese OCTG products. Domestic industry was given an opportunity to recover, subsequently making almost $1.6 billion in capital expenditures between 2010 and 2012 while employing thousands of dedicated American workers in the process.