NEW YORK Executives at
North American tube and pipe producers still see imports as a
significant threat to the domestic industry.
"This stuff is coming here and
attacking our shores," Barry M. Zekelman, executive chairman of
Chicago-based JMC Steel Group Inc., said during a panel
discussion at AMMs 6th annual Steel Tube and
"You cant tell me
theyre making it cheaper than we do here. No way. We have
the cheapest iron ore, we have the cheapest natural gas, we
have the transportation system," he said, adding that labor
"a tiny component in the selling price of tube."
Responding to an audience
question about trade cases, Robert S. Mandel, president and
chief executive officer of Concord, Ontario-based Welded Tube
of Canada Ltd., said that a dumping case against Chinese tube
and pipe producers a few years ago had effectively halted those
"We see virtually no Chinese
pipe now," he said, calling trade cases "a tool that the
industry will continue to assiduously promote."
Zekelman agreed that the
industry will continue to battle what it considers unfairly
traded imports, even though audience members noted that
stopping one country from bringing in pipe often leads to
others replacing them. "Its a game of whack-a-mole, but
well continue to do it," he said.
Import license applications for
welded oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from South Korea, a
country often singled out as the target of a possible
anti-dumping case, reached 97,817 tonnes in January, the
highest level in more than a year, according to the U.S.
Department of Commerces Import Administration division
amm.com, Feb. 6).
Besides potential trade cases,
U.S. capacity expansions could also crimp imports.