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Pipe Imports from China Disrupt U.S. Market

Pipe Imports from China Disrupt U.S. Market, Trade Panel Votes

USITC to recommend potential remedies in October

Washington -- The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has ruled that imports of certain circular welded nonalloy steel pipe from China are causing market disruptions affecting U.S. producers.

This type of pipe is used in plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems and in the construction of buildings and other objects.

The commission is expected to report to President Bush and the U.S. Trade Representative by October 21 on potential remedies under which domestic producers can obtain relief. The president, who makes the final decision, might provide relief or forgo any action.

Bush decided against relief measures in similar cases filed earlier, citing the “national economic interest” or a negative impact on the U.S. economy as grounds for his decision.

The USITC voted 3-2 to make an affirmative determination in the case filed under Section 421 of U.S. trade law. The section was added by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000, which implemented the bilateral agreement relating to China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The "transitional bilateral safeguard" provision of the agreement allows U.S. domestic producers to obtain relief if USITC finds that Chinese products are being imported into the United States in such increased quantities or under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause market disruption to the domestic producers of like or directly competitive products.

The Commerce Department has initiated another case that involves China. In a September 30 fact sheet, the department said it is launching an anti-dumping investigation on imports of lined paper products from that country as well as from India and Indonesia. It also is initiating parallel subsidy investigations concerning imports from India and Indonesia.

Imposition of anti-dumping duties requires final affirmative determinations both from the Commerce Department that dumping occurred and from the USITC that the imports injured or threatened injury to U.S. industry. The Commerce Department is expected to issue final rulings by May 2, 2006, and the USITC is expected to make its final determinations by June 16 of the same year.

Dumping is the import of goods at a price below the home-market or a third-country price or below the cost of production. A subsidy is a grant conferred on a producer by a government.

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