July 24, 2014

After Schumer-Gillibrand Push, Feds Find Nine Countries Are Guilty Of Dumping Foreign Steel, Senators Announce Feds Take Major Step To Protect New York Steel Jobs From Unfairly Priced Foreign Imports

Senators Laud Commerce Decision That Will Help Protect New York Steel Jobs

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), in their final determination, has found that companies from nine countries are dumping steel pipe products into the United States. In May, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand joined 55 of their colleagues to urge the DOC to engage in a thorough investigation of possible dumping of certain steel pipes, called Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG), which threatened U.S. manufactures and jobs.  

The recent decision will allow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits for estimated antidumping duties, making it costly for companies found dumping to export into the U.S. This will help prevent foreign competitors from unfairly undercutting U.S. manufactures. The case now moves to the International Trade Commission (ITC). If the ITC finds that U.S. manufactures were materially injured, or are threatened by material injury, the DOC will impose a duty on the dumped goods. The nine countries included in DOC’s investigation include India, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

“Upstate New York is home to many successful steel manufacturers, which produce some of the world’s best steel pipe products and support thousands of jobs. But the dumping of cheaper steel products from foreign companies into the U.S. market is not only harmful to companies’ bottom lines but also to the jobs that our steel manufacturing industry supports,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to announce that the Department of Commerce has taken a major step to protect our steel companies from being unfairly undercut by foreign competitors. Strict enforcement of our trade laws is needed to protect jobs and our local, homegrown businesses and manufacturers from being impacted by unfair foreign practices.”

“We must make sure our steel manufacturers are on a level playing field with their foreign counterparts,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Dumping cheaper products into the U.S. cannot be tolerated. The Department of Commerce is standing up to protect New York steelworker’s jobs from predatory international practices by making it harder for other countries to corner the market through unfair and illegal trade. I want to see more Made in America, starting right here in New York.”

“Welded Tube USA and its employees at our Lackawanna, New York facility were very pleased to learn that the Commerce Department issued an affirmative final determination regarding unfairly traded imports of OCTG products from South Korea and eight other countries,” said Butch Mandel, President of Welded Tube USA. “We also appreciate the outstanding support we received from New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and thank them for their leadership on this issue,” he added.  The industry will now wait for the final decision from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) which is expected on August 14, 2014."

Welded Tube USA, an Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) producer which employs more than 120 people in Lackawanna, reported the recent dumping of on the U.S. market has hurt their business. Schumer and Gillibrand have long sought to combat unfair and anticompetitive foreign business and government tactics that seek to undermine the revitalization of manufacturing in upstate New York.

This DOC decision will also benefit local companies like Klein Steel, who employ 170 people in Rochester; Nucor Steel, who employ more than 300 people Auburn and other New York steel producers.

“We strongly believe that it is in the best interest of our country and our company to ensure the security of our domestic steel producers by keeping the ‘playing field’ level,” Klein Steel President, Todd Zyra said. “When other countries affect the price of steel, either by flooding the market or purposely artificially lowering the price, it hurts U.S. suppliers who play by all the rules of good business including environmental, safety, insurance, workers comp, transportation, production and so much more.  When our domestic producers are weakened financially by foreign competition that does not play by the same rules, it hurts the people who work at companies like Klein Steel, and all of our customers.”

“Commerce’s favorable decision in the pipe and tube case shows our U.S. government is willing to stand by U.S. industries and workers in their effort to combat illegal trade practices,” said MaryEmily Slate,  Vice President and General Manager of Nucor Steel Auburn, Inc.  “Trade law enforcement is critical not only to Nucor’s customers in the pipe and tube industry, but also to our more than 300 teammates at Nucor Steel in Auburn who are battling dumped and subsidized imports of steel rebar from Turkey and Mexico.  We appreciate all that Senators Schumer and Gillibrand do to ensure a level playing field for American workers.”

“For USW members the cost of unfair trade is paid with our jobs.  When our trade laws are not enforced, our members and their families don’t lose profits or market share, they lose their livelihoods,” said John Shinn, Director of the United Steelworkers District 4. “ I stand with members of the USW across the country in thanking Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for joining over 200 lawmakers in our nationwide call to action to ensure that the Department of Commerce looked at all the facts when it reviewed its preliminary decision to let dumped OCTG pipe into the US without penalty.”

“New York has lost over 300,000 manufacturing jobs over the last decade; we simply cannot afford to have any more good, American jobs jeopardized by foreign countries that compete unfairly,” said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO.  “We commend Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their aggressive leadership on this critical issue to ensure that New York businesses and their workers have a fair chance to compete.”

While the demand for OCTG steel pipes in the U.S. has grown, there has been an expansion of foreign companies selling steel products at less than fair market value in U.S. markets, called dumping. These practices have driven down the price of the pipes and oversaturated the market. Some foreign countries practicing unfair trade have also subsidized their exports in order to strengthen their competitive positions. OCTG are just one category of steel products being dumped by foreign competitors in U.S. markets. Countries like South Korea are some of the largest OCTG producers in the world, accounting for around 20 percent of the U.S. OCTG market.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York is the third largest employer of structural iron and steel workers, employing more than 4,000 workers. New York’s iron and steel workers are also the highest paid workers amongst all, within the occupation.

U.S. steel pipe producers employ nearly 8,000 American’s across the country, with even more jobs created throughout the supply chain process. Foreign imports of steel pipes have doubled since 2008, increasing by 61 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. This has led to a decline in sales for U.S. producers and lost jobs for American workers. This occurrence prompted Senators Schumer and Gillibrand along with 55 other Senators, to send a letter to DOC requesting further evaluation of the illegal subsidization and dumping of steel imports by foreign companies. 

Full text of the Senators letter to DOC Secretary Penny Pritzker is attached.