Washington, DC – More than 150 members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker urging a “thorough investigation of the dumping of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) steel pipe in the US market by South Korea.”
The bipartisan group behind the letter was jointly organized by Reps. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania) and Pete Visclosky (D-Indiana). The correspondence comes a month after a similar letter was sent to the Commerce Secretary by a majority of members of the US Senate.
The same month, a preliminary ruling was issued by the Commerce Department (DOC) charging that eight countries are dumping OCTG pipe in the US at below fair-market value in response to a filing by US Steel and several other US-based steel makers and manufacturers.
“Notably absent, however, in the Commerce Department determination was any finding of wrongdoing by South Korea, the primary source of imported OCTG products,” the latest letter read. “With no market of its own, South Korea exports nearly all of its OCTG production – often at well-below market prices – to the United States.”
With a final decision set for July, the House letter is urging Pritzger “to fully investigate concerns regarding the accuracy of data submitted by South Korean steel companies.”
“As the surge continues, domestic steelmakers’ production, capacity utilization, shipments, and sales all fell in the first quarter of 2013, with operating income slashed by nearly $191 million,” the letter read.
Last week, the U.S. Steel Corp. announced it would “indefinitely” shutter its seamless tubular manufacturing facilities in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and Bellville, Texas, as “unfairly traded tubular products imported into the US has affected business conditions.”
The company said it “remains committed to the tubular products business and to serving its tubular customers and has taken this decision so that the company can return to sustainable profitability.”
According to industry sources, OCTG imports from South Korea and the eight other countries targeted in the DOC determination more than doubled since 2008 and have grown by 61 percent thus far in 2014 compared to 2013.
Seamless OCTG pipes are primarily used for domestic oil exploration, including shale development.