NEW YORK South Korean
producers of energy tubulars deny they are dumping their
products in the U.S. market, where talk of a trade case against
the country has been rife in recent months.
"Our price is very ... fair.
Were not dumping. We think that we can defend ourself ...
about the price," a source at one Korean tube and pipe
manufacturer told AMM.
"There always have been rumors
(of a trade case). The main reason is that Korean imports to
the United States are very (large) over other countries. Korean
manufacturers generally export over the cost price so we
dont think that theyre dumping in the United
States," a market source said, adding that Korean manufacturers
were "ready for a possible anti-dumping case."
Some domestic mills said in
quarterly earnings calls late last year that a trade case was
brewing, and sources earlier this year called a case
amm.com, Jan. 16).
A source at one importer of
Korean product said the recent talk of a trade case might be a
tactic to scare off imports, adding that in his opinion low
coil costs were making Korean producers very competitive.
"Its a way just to keep tons out, I think. I dont
really see how theyre selling below their cost because
coils from Asia have been cheap," he said.
"Weve got to make profit
here otherwise I dont have a job. We cant sell
below our cost, it doesnt make sense," a second importer
source said, adding that Korean producers were competing on a
level playing field with U.S. manufacturers.
"(South Korea) doesnt
subsidize industry. Labor is as expensive as ours is. The cost
of fuel is very comparable. Its the kind of competitor
that the United States needs," he said.
Large Korean manufacturers of
pipe and tube with sales channels in the United States,
including Hyundai BNG Steel Corp., Nexteel Co. Ltd. and Seah
Steel Corp., all posted profits in 2011, the latest figures
available, according to filings with Korean regulators and
company websites, although all three also make other products
beside pipe and tube.
Sources expressed concern about
the ongoing threat of a trade case as the United States is an
important export market for Korean producers, who can sell
little of their oil country tubular goods (OCTG) and line pipe
"We are very concerned about
these issues. Nobody wants to injure this market or get kicked
out of the game. We want to stay in the game," the second
importer source said.
Korea shipped 97,785 tonnes of
oil country tubular goods (OCTG) and 79,429 tonnes of line pipe
to the United States in January, by far the largest overseas
supplier in both categories, according to figures from the U.S.
Commerce Departments Import Administration.
Commerce figures show that OCTG
from Korea was brought in at an average price of $967 per tonne
in January, compared with $842 for product from Vietnam and
$850 per tonne for product from Taiwan, the two lowest-priced
"We dont want to sell our
material at the low price. We are very ... proud of our
quality," the manufacturer source said.
Hyundai, Nexteel and Seah did
not respond to requests for comment.