Lincoln Applauds Decision to Protect Arkansas Steel Pipe Industry From Unfair Foreign Competition

Washington—United States Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) today applauded a decision by the International Trade Commission (ITC) to protect Arkansas workers from unfairly subsidized steel pipe imports from China. The ITC voted unanimously 6-0 Wednesday that the U.S. industry producing steel pipes used in the extraction of gas and oil has suffered or is likely to suffer due to the impact of these Chinese products on the domestic market.

Earlier this month, Sen. Lincoln testified before the ITC to seek trade relief for Arkansas companies Maverick Tube Corporation and TMK IPSCO, which have had to lay off many of their workers, or cut hours or wages as a result of the Chinese imports. Nucor Corporation, which has two major mills in Mississippi County and supplies the two Arkansas facilities with much of their steel, has also suffered because of dumped and subsidized imports from China.

The ruling today means that China will be charged $2.8 billion in tariffs on annual steel pipe exports.

“This ruling is great news for the hardworking men and women of Arkansas’s steel pipe industry, whose livelihood has suffered because China was not playing by the rules,” Lincoln said. “This trade relief is critical to protecting the jobs of the Arkansas steel pipe industry.  Our workers deserve a fair playing field, free of predatory foreign trade practices that hamper important domestic industries.”

Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) are steel pipes used in the extraction of gas and oil. For years, dumped and subsidized imports of OCTG from China have flooded the U.S. market. From 2006-2008 alone, the volume of Chinese imports increased by 203 percent. The Department of Commerce first found that OCTG from China has been unfairly subsidized at rates ranging from 11 to 31 percent.

As these Chinese imports have been flooding the U.S. market, natural gas drilling and overall demand for OCTG has been collapsing. The combination of increased OCTG imports from China and collapsed demand for these products has led to a massive oversupply of inventory and the downfall of the domestic OCTG industry.

Also this month, Senator Lincoln was joined by 12 of her Senate colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. ITC Chairman Shara L. Aranoff, which expressed support for the domestic OCTG industry and urged the Commission to ensure that unfairly traded imports from China are not allowed to inflict additional harm on the domestic market.

“American workers and producers need and deserve a fair chance to compete in their own market,” the letter read. “Now more than ever, it is crucial that this Commission fully and effectively enforce our trade laws, and ensure that foreign producers refusing to play by the rules are not permitted to further injure American workers and companies.”