Thursday, December 01, 2005

Congressional Leaders Urge President Bush to Grant Quota Relief on China Pipe Imports

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) and U.S. makers of standard pipe today announced separate letters signed by 61 members of the U.S. House and 20 U.S. Senators were sent to President Bush urging him to grant quota relief on surging pipe imports from China.
A final report will be given to the President for his determination on the industry’s petition for relief, following the public hearing held Nov. 29 by an interagency staff at the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office in Washington. Under Section 421 of the U.S. trade law passed by Congress in 2000, the USTR reviews injury findings of the International Trade Commission (ITC) and forwards its recommendation by Dec. 15 to the President, who is due to make a decision by Dec. 30.
Section 421 was enacted by Congress as part of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to provide American manufacturers with a way to respond to import surges that result in market disruption. The standard pipe case is currently the only pending case going to the President on China imports.
The U.S. Senate letter states: "The Chinese government has refused to respect international trade obligations by continuing to manipulate its currency, violating intellectual property rights, and by providing domestic and export subsidies." It also adds, "In spite of massive surges of imports from China, which reached $22.7 billion in just the month of August 2005, no American industry or worker has yet received relief under this law."
The USW represents most of the 2,500 pipe workers employed at the affected companies who filed the petition: Allied Tube & Conduit Corp.; IPSCO Tubulars Inc.; Maruichi American Corp.; Maverick Tube Corp.; Sharon Tube Co.; Western Tube & Conduit Corp.; and Wheatland Tube Co. These companies operate plants in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Two plants in Oregon and Louisiana have recently been shutdown, plus several more plants are in danger of being closed. According to the industry, 400 workers have been laid off this year and annualized Chinese imports of standard pipe will reach 400,000 tons from a level of 10,000 tons in 2002.
The views of the ITC, including its remedy proposals and the ITC staff report are available on the ITC’s website:
Copies of the U.S. House and Senate signatory letters transmitted to the White House are available as pdf files by contacting Gary Hubbard, USW, 202-778-4384; or Tamara Browne, Schagrin Associates, 202-223-1700.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


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