U.S. Slaps Import Penalties on Chinese Tubular Goods

Says Chinese have sold these goods in the U.S. at a prices ranging from zero to 99.14% less than normal value.

The U.S .Commerce Department has imposed anti-dumping tariffs of up to 9% on imports of Chinese tubular goods in a move Beijing condemned on Nov. 6 as an "abuse of protectionism."

The department said on Nov. 5 it has "determined that Chinese producers/exporters have sold OCTG (oil country tubular goods) in the United States at prices ranging from zero to 99.14% less than normal value."

The Commerce Department said on Nov. 5 it had assessed that several Chinese companies were selling the tubes at 36.53% less than their normal value, and fixed the same tariff rate. "All other Chinese producers/exporters will receive a preliminary dumping rate of 99.14%," the department said.

The duties will be imposed based on individual companies' dumping rates, the Commerce Department said, adding that OCTG imports from China were valued at an estimated $2.6 billion in 2008.

The Chinese commerce ministry said that China "firmly opposes the abuse of protectionism and will take measures to seriously protect the interests of the domestic industry." It called the U.S. tariffs "discriminatory" steps that would "have a serious impact on the Chinese steel industry's exports."

But the United Steelworkers (USW) union hailed the move as "an overdue message for thousands of American laid off workers that trade laws are being enforced."

The announcement came just 10 days before President Barack Obama is due to make his first official visit to China on November 15-18 and is the latest in a series of punitive tariffs the U.S. has imposed on Chinese goods.

USW president Leo Gerard said the OCTG anti-dumping measures were "promising" for U.S. producers reeling from nearly half of the domestic industry's 6,000-strong workforce currently laid off. "China's government and exporters are being told we are fed up with their cheating on our fair trade laws and penalties for these transgressions are long overdue," he said.

The union's vice president, Tom Conway, said the government's moves "gives reason to believe there will be a callback of laid-off American pipe workers who can share in the recovery of this industry once the unfairly-traded Chinese import inventory is de-stocked."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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