Congressional Steel Caucus members are urging the U.S. Department of Commerce to enforce a ban on China's dumping subsidized steel pipe used in oil and gas drilling into the American market.
Twenty Republican and Democratic legislators sent a letter Thursday to Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank that steel pipe producers from China are evading duties by sending what are known as oil country tubular goods to other countries for minor modifications before being sent to the United States. The lawmakers argued these products shouldn't be exempted from duties, because processes such as heat treatment or other finishing operations do not change the products' country of origin.
Several U.S. pipe producers such as United States Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers sent a petition in 2009 to the government seeking trade relief from the steel pipe imported from China. Following an investigation, the Commerce Department determined China was unfairly subsidizing products. Later, the International Trade Commission ruled the imports injured the domestic industry and the threat of injury would remain without intervention.
Legislators including U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, said enforcement is important to maintain the domestic industry's health as imports products from Vietnam and Thailand are up significantly from a year ago.
“We must send the message that we will fight for our workers and face down countries with manipulative, unfair, and illegal trade policies,” Visclosky said. in a statement.
The Congressional Steel Caucus is a bipartisan bloc of legislators who are interested in the health of the domestic steel industry or represent districts with a steel industry presence.