Trade officials should continue sending signals to countries around the world the United States has no tolerance for "even the slightest trace of illegal subsidies," U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky said Wednesday at a hearing in Washington.
Visclosky, who is vice chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, testified at a U.S. International Trade Commission hearing in support of adding tariffs to circular welded steel pipes and tubes imported from India, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
The commission voted in December there was reasonable indication the domestic industry was materially injured as a result of the products coming from the four countries.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has determined producers or exporters of the products in India and Vietnam received unfair subsidies and the products from those two countries and Oman and the United Arab Emirates were being sold at less than fair market value. Tariff rates have been set but require an affirmative ITC decision for enforcement.
Between 2009 and 2011, the amount of exports to the United States from the four countries rose between 8 percent and 275 percent, according to an International Trade Administration fact sheet.
"The sudden surge of imports is devastating to our American steelworkers, who are still fighting to get on solid ground in this fragile economy," said Visclosky, D-Merrillville, in prepared remarks.
Wednesday's hearing was part of the commission's investigation to make a final determination whether U.S. producers suffered material injury. A final determination could be made within the next month.
Harvey-based Allied Tube and Conduit, Chicago-based JMC Steel, United States Steel Corp. and Wheatland Tube petitioned for trade relief about a year ago.
In 2010, about 1,465 employees worked for companies that produced circular welded pipe, according to the International Trade Commission. U.S. producers shipped 900,000 tons of product, or about 64 percent of U.S. consumption, worth about $888.1 million. Products from the four countries captured about 13 percent of the U.S. market.