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Pipe Supplier, Commerce Department Make Deal on Dumping

Interpipe Co., a global steel pipe supplier with North American offices in Houston, said Monday it has reached a settlement with the U.S. Commerce Department regarding its imposition earlier in the month of a higher tariff on tubular steel (pipe) imported from the Ukraine, South Korea and seven other nations (see Daily GPI, July 15).

Interpipe accounts for 85% of the steel pipe, or oil country tubular goods (OCTG), imported into the United States from the Ukraine. A Washington, DC-based Commerce Department spokesperson told NGI that this is the only deal made with an overseas steel pipe supplier involved in the anti-dumping actions.

Interpipe will not be subject to the higher tariffs for a suspension period running until July 2017, the company and Commerce Department confirmed.

"Our discussions with Interpipe as well as the U.S. industry [whose complaints to the federal agency prompted the higher tariffs], and based on some of the current events in the Ukraine, the U.S. domestic industry, the Commerce Department and Interpipe reached a suspension agreement, and part of that agreement is that Interpipe will sell its pipe here in the United States at a minimum price set by Commerce based on input from Interpipe," the spokesperson said.

Interpipe officials said the settlement calls for "no anti-dumping cash deposits or duties" for the company. Interpipe spokesperson Fadi Hraibi said the company worked hard to reach a settlement, and underscored that the company has been supplying pipe in the United States since 2001.

"We are looking forward to supplying quality OCTG and line pipe to the United States and strengthening long-term partnerships with our existing and new customers," Hraibi said. A company executive called the settlement an "important milestone" in the U.S. anti-dumping investigation, and one that will allow Interpipe to continue supplying seamless pipe products into the burgeoning U.S. oil/gas market.

Earlier this month, the Commerce Department levied new duties of up to 118% on imported steel tubular goods from the nine nations involved in the alleged dumping. The action prompted the issue to be taken up by the U.S. International Trade Commission, which later in the summer is expected rule on the higher tariffs.

"The next step is the ITC issuing a 'final injury determination', and in order for there to be an anti-dumping and countervailing duty order as issued by the Commerce Department, the ITC has to make an affirmative determination," the Commerce spokesperson said. In the meantime, the higher tariffs go into effect as soon as they are published in the Federal Register.

If the ITC has a negative finding, all additional duties and tariffs collected will be refunded to the companies that paid the higher charges.

Each of the nine countries that were part of the Commerce investigation -- India, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam -- have been sending cheap steel pipe to the United States to try to capture a major part of the booming pipe demand fed by the U.S. shale drilling industry.

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