Another victory for local steel

Ohio’s congressional delegation scored another victory to protect local manufacturers like Vallourec Star in Youngstown, TMK IPSCO in Brookfield and Wheatland Tube in western Pennsylvania.

U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Howland, and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are among the most vocal advocates of preventing Chinese pipe makers from dumping steel pipes used in the oil and natural gas drilling industry. Chinese producers had argued that they ship unfinished pipes to a third country for threading before shipping them to the U.S., and therefore they should be duty-free.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, fortunately, ruled that was unfair to domestic manufacturers.

”It’s a big win for us,” said Scott Barnes, senior vice president and chief corporate officer for TMK IPSCO in Houston. ”At our facility in Brookfield, this is the type of product that we produce and sell. Obviously, we would not have filed the case if we did not think it was important to block the loophole.”

Pipes known as ”Oil Country Tubular Goods,” or OCTG, imported from China now will be subject to anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

Chinese companies had challenged a May 31 preliminary ruling on the topic, arguing that because the products leave the country of origin in an unfinished state, they should be excluded from duties on products finished within China.

The Department of Commerce ruled against that argument. The case involved pipe-dumping allegations lodged in 2012 by the local pipe manufacturers and others around the U.S.

”This ruling is an important step forward in ensuring that American manufactured goods can compete with their global competitors on a level playing field,” Portman said. ”This is good news to the thousands of American workers who were threatened from the risk of watered-down protections, which would have allowed cheap Chinese products to flood our domestic markets.”

The battle is not over, which is why Ryan’s House Manufacturing Caucus needs to continue its work. Ryan co-founded the House Manufacturing Caucus in 2003. The caucus, for an example of their efforts, is supporting the Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing on how to strengthen U.S. innovation and manufacturing. It also deals with currency manipulation on a regular basis.

Next on the agenda is the Department of Commerce determining in a separate trade case involving U.S. Steel’s petition of alleged dumping of tubular goods by Ukrainian companies. The Commerce Department delivered a favorable preliminary opinion.

Let’s keep the pressure on the federal government to protect local manufacturers.