Wilbur Ross, the US Secretary of Commerce, announced yesterday the initiation of new anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into the export of large diameter welded pipe (LDWP) into the USA from a handful of countries, including Canada.

Tim Brightbill, partner, Wiley Rein LLP, counsel to the American Line Pipe Producers Association (ALPPR), commented: “We welcome the initiation of these trade cases, and we urge the Commerce Department to investigate and impose dumping and subsidy margins that fully reflect the level of unfair trade in this marketplace. We are deeply concerned by the recent losses of several $100 million or more pipeline projects and hundreds of American manufacturing jobs to dumped and subsidised imports from these countries. We filed these anti-dumping and subsidy cases for precisely this reason.”

Canada, China, Greece, India, Korea and Turkey are the countries under the microscope, and the purpose of the investigations is to determine whether imports of LDWP are being dumped in the United States and/or if producers are receiving unfair subsidies.

Brightbill urged the International Trade Commission to make ‘an affirmative injury determination’. “If imports from these six countries surge in to try and beat the duties, we urge the US Government to impose the duties retroactively,” he said, adding that “we ask President Trump again to impose meaningful Section 232 relief that covers large diameter line pipe from all of these countries.”

The ALPPA, which represents US line pipe producers, filed anti-dumping petitions on LDWP from Canada, Greece, India, China, Korea and Turkey on 17 January, and also countervailing duty petitions on LDWP from India, China, Korea and Turkey.

A strong supporter of President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ announcement, the ALPPA claims that there is plenty of available pipe production capacity in the USA and that jobs will be created at the pipe mills and at numerous companies supporting the line pipe supply chain if that capacity is used.

John P Stupp Jr, CEO of Stupp Corp., a large diameter pipe manufacturer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said his company was ready to go to work and ‘make it happen’.

Likewise, Ingo Riemer, president and CEO of Berg Steel Pipe Corp, is firmly on-side: “We are committed to working with the steel industry, the pipeline operators and others to implement the Presidential Memo,” he said. Berg manufacturers line pipe in Florida and Alabama.

Jason Norris, president of Pennsylvania-based Dura-Bond Industries, another US-based line pipe manufacturer, pointed out that ‘using American-made pipe does not just benefit our workers, it benefits the workers and communities of all of the companies in the supply chain’.

According to Secretary Ross, “When initiating a trade investigation, the Department of Commerce begins an open and transparent process that allows American companies and workers to gain relief from the market-distorting effects of injurious dumping and subsidisation of imports.”

The latest AD and CVD investigations were based on petitions filed by the above-mentioned pipe manufacturers and the American Cast Iron Pipe Company of Birmingham, Alabama.

According to the US Department of Commerce, the estimated dumping margins alleged by the petitioners are 50.89% for Canada, 41.04% for Greece, 120.84% to 132.63% for China, 37.94% for India, 16.18 to 20.39% for Korea, and 66.09% for Turkey. The unfair subsidy programmes alleged include export subsidies, inputs for less-than-adequate-remuneration, tax incentives, and subsidised loans from China, India, Korea, and Turkey.

There are two angles to the latest investigations. With the AD investigations, the Commerce Department will determine whether imports of large diameter welded pipe from Canada, Greece, China, India, Korea, and/or Turkey are being dumped on the US market at less than fair value. The CVD investigations will determine whether imports of large diameter welded pipe from China, India, Korea, and/or Turkey are receiving government subsidies. Duties will be imposed if both investigations yield affirmative answers.

In 2016, imports of large diameter welded pipe from Canada, China, India, Greece, Korea and Turkey were respectively valued at $66 million, $139 million, $26 million, $70 million, $150.3 million, and $116.1 million.

There has been an 81% increase in trade cases initiated since President Trump took office, claims the US Department of Commerce.

Between 20 January 2017 and 9 February 2018, the US Commerce Department claims it has initiated 94 anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations, an 81% increase over the previous period.