US slaps more punitive duties on China pipe

08:24, November 06, 2009      

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The United States Thursday slapped preliminary anti-dumping duties ranging up to 99 percent on Chinese-made oil well pipe in the biggest U.S. trade action against China. It follows Obama administration's decision in September to put a 35 percent duty on Chinese-made tires.

There is no immediate response or comments from China's Ministry of Commerce yet.

The punitive trade measure on China came a week before U.S. President Barack Obama heads to Asia on a trip that includes stops in Shanghai and Beijing.

Beijing has resolutely opposed any protectionist trade moves by the United States, one of China's biggest trade partners, claiming protectionism will eventually hurt bilateral trade, and cripple a sluggish global economic recovery from a worst recession since the Great Depression.

The Steelworkers, who campaigned hard for Obama during last year's presidential race and are an important ally in his fight to win approval of comprehensive healthcare reform in U.S. Congress, were also a driving force in the oil well pipe case.

Since taking office in January this year, the Obama administration has initiated at least a dozen anti-dumping or countervailing duty investigations against products from China in response to petitions filed by industry and union groups.

The U.S. International Trade Commission will vote on Friday whether to approve three more probes covering coated paper, certain steel fasteners and sodium and potassium phosphate salts from China, according to reports.

The preliminary duties announced on Thursday by the Commerce Department included a 36.53 percent levy on certain "oil country tubular goods" exported by Tianjin Pipe International Economic and Trading Corp, Zhejiang Jianli Co Ltd, Wuxi Seamless Pipe Co and unspecified other companies in China.

The U.S. Ministry of Commerce also set a preliminary 99.14 percent "China-wide" anti-dumping duty on other producers and exporters.

Maverick Tube Corp, United States Steel Corp, TMK IPSCO, V&M Star LLP, Wheatland Tube Corp and Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel joined the Steelworkers in April in asking the Commerce Department for the import curbs.

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