April 29, 2015

Portman and Brown Welcome International Trade Commission Ruling that Protects Ohio Manufacturers from Illegal Trade Schemes

Ruling Maintains Tariffs on Illegally Undersold and Subsidized Chinese Imports That Hurt Ohio Workers

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) applauded a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling protecting Ohio steel manufacturers and the jobs they support. The senators worked closely on two related OCTG cases on 2014 that resulted in important victories for Ohio workers.  Today’s unanimous ITC ruling maintains the current duties on Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) imports from China.

“I’m pleased with today’s unanimous ruling reaffirming that American manufacturing workers deserve to compete on a level playing field,” Portman stated. “Ohio pipe and tube workers are among the best in the world, but we must stand up to foreign competitors who break trade rules at the expense of Ohio workers.”  

“When foreign companies don’t play by the rules, American companies deserve relief from unfair trade practices,” said Brown. “We know Ohio workers can compete with any foreign competitor, but they need a level playing field. This ruling is good news for Ohio workers and companies, especially those in our steel and tube industry.”

Oil Country Tubular Goods are used for domestic oil exploration, especially shale. Steel produced for the U.S. energy market, such as OCTG, accounts for approximately 10 percent of domestic steel production and nearly 8,000 American jobs nationwide. U.S. producers, however, are increasingly losing sales to foreign competitors because imports of OCTG have doubled since 2008 and increased by 61 percent thus far in 2014 compared to 2013. By some accounts, OCTG imports represent 50 percent of the pipes used for gas and oil drilling in the United States.  

Portman and Brown have led the fight on supporting OCTG workers from illegal imports.  In 2014, Portman and Brown successfully led the fight in urging the Administration to apply trade remedies against OCTG imports that violate trade law due to illegal subsidization or by selling at too low a price (dumping). U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) investigated the dumping of OCTG into the U.S. market from nine countries, including India, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam. DOC also examined whether India and Turkey are unfairly subsidizing their OCTG producers. This was at the behest of nine petitioning companies, including JMC Steel in Warren, Vallourec Star in Youngstown, TMK IPSCO in Brookfield, and U. S. Steel in Lorain.  Portman and Brown led a group of 57 Senators in sending a letter to DOC Secretary Penny Pritzker. The letter asked DOC to closely verify and further analyze the information submitted by the Korean producers to ensure its accuracy.

In 2014, Portman and Brown also successfully fought together in urging DOC to protect Ohio based OCTG companies. The senators applauded an announcement by DOC that it would maintain Antidumping Duties (AD) and Countervailing Duties (CVD) on Chinese steel pipe imports. Prior to its decision, Brown and Portman urged DOC to rule in favor of domestic steel manufacturers on a petition regarding product coverage for duties ordered on OCTG from China. 

Portman has visited several Ohio steel manufacturers including U.S. Steel Lorain, Vallourec Star in Youngstown, and TMK IPSCO in Brookfield, Ohio.