The US Commerce Department has set preliminary anti-dumping duties ranging from 32 to 98% on seamless steel pipes from China.

The decision is a victory for United States Steel Corp, V&M Star LP, TMK IPSCO and the United Steelworkers union, which filed a petition last year asking for duties to offset what they said was below-market pricing by Chinese competitors.

The trade complaint is one of several against China moving through the US system.

The mounting number of cases has prompted China to complain the United States is using its trade remedy laws in a protectionist fashion.

Washington responds that its actions are a necessary defense against government subsidies and unfair pricing practices.

The Commerce Department set a preliminary anti-dumping duty of 91.93% for Hengyang Steel Tube Group International Trading Inc, Hengyang Valin Steel Tube Co Ltd and Hengyang Valin MPM Tube Co Ltd.

It set a lower rate of 32.39% on Tianjin Pipe International Economic and Trading Corporation and Tianjin Pipe (Group) Corporation.

Several other Chinese manufacturers and exporters received a rate of 62.16%, and remaining unidentified companies were hit with a China-wide rate of 98.37%.

Imports of the seamless carbon and alloy steel standard, line and pressure pipe from China totaled $182M 2009, down from $487M.

The Commerce Department will issue its final anti-dumping determination in September, before a final vote in October.