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U.S. Steel Says South Korean Companies Are Dumping Pipes

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March 25 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Steel Corp., the largest U.S. producer of the metal by volume, said South Korea is dumping steel pipes and tubes in the U.S.

South Korean steelmakers created a network of related companies in order to evade U.S. trade laws on so-called oil-country tubular goods, which are pipes and tubes used by oil and gas drillers, Mario Longhi, chief executive officer of Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, said in remarks prepared for the U.S. Congressional Steel Caucus today.

“The evidence in this case clearly shows that OCTG products are being illegally dumped in what remains the most open and attractive market in the world at prices below fair value and in ways designed to circumvent our trade laws,” the CEO was due to say in his testimony.

U.S. Steel, the biggest domestic producer of pipes and tubes sold to drillers, is among steelmakers who say they have been unfairly harmed as continued imports of the products are sold more cheaply than domestic producers can make them. Sales of the products represented 48 percent of U.S. Steel’s 2013 operating income.

Republican Representative Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania’s 18th district and chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus convened the hearing in Washington today.

Oil Pipes

The Commerce Department has ignored violations of U.S. trade law in recent cases involving reinforcing bar from Turkey and oil pipes from both South Korea and Turkey, Murphy said in his prepared remarks.

The Commerce Department announced a preliminary ruling last month that imposed anti-dumping duties on imports from eight countries but excluded South Korea. A final determination may be made in July, with the U.S. International Trade Commission making a final decision by Aug. 21, the department said in a statement.

Dumping occurs when a foreign company sells a product in the U.S. at less than its fair value, according to the department. Last month’s decision applied import tariffs from India, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.

Advances in drilling techniques leave the U.S. poised to surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest producer of crude oil by 2015, according to projections by the International Energy Agency. A combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have unlocked domestic shale deposits of oil and gas, boosting domestic crude output last year by the most since 1940.

Executives from steel companies including Nucor Corp., the biggest U.S. steelmaker by market value, and Evraz North America, ArcelorMittal USA, SSAB Americas, Steel Dynamics Inc., and the United Steelworkers Union also were scheduled to speak at the steel hearing today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonja Elmquist in New York at selmquist1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net Steven Frank