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U.S. steel producers win anti-dumping case against cheap imports

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday voted to impose anti-dumping duties against steel pipe imports from six countries, exempting two, handing a victory to domestic producers who had complained that the cheap imports were undercutting their prices.

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Countries whose steel will be subject to duties will be India, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam. The Philippines and Thailand will be exempt.

The decision gives the U.S. Department of Commerce — which had approved the duties last month — the green light to impose tariffs as high as 118 percent on tubular goods, and is expected to boost the domestic business. It’s a victory for Iron Range miners and mining companies, who staged a large “Save Our Steel” rally earlier this summer to draw attention to the issue and support government sanctions against steel imports.

U.S. steel companies lodged a complaint in 2013 after imports of the pipes used in the oil and gas industry surged, as foreign manufacturers sought to cash in on booming U.S. shale gas drilling.

Imports of “oil country tubular goods” (OCTG) doubled last year and accounted for nearly two-thirds of the U.S. market, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, an industry group.

Shortly after the ruling, U.S. Steel Corp was trading up more than 3 percent at $37.96 per share.

The companies said that OCTG imports sold cheaply using unfair government subsidies had harmed their business, dragged prices down and triggered job cuts.

Foreign manufacturers countered that they do not supply enough pipe to threaten the U.S. industry, and instead blamed the lower prices on U.S. producers increasing supply.

U.S. trade officials are working their way through as many as eight disputes involving various steel products.

Friday’s decision likely will boost confidence in the domestic industry in the outcome of a current case involving steel-rolled pipes from Russia.

U.S. steel producers have accused Russia of flooding the market with cheap flat-rolled steel, and want the Commerce Department to end a trade deal that they said had failed to stop Russia from dumping.

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