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Senators call for harder line on OCTG imports

Keywords: Tags  Commerce Department, Penny Pritzker, oil country tubular goods, OCTG, oil, natural gas, drilling, tubular products Sen. Sherrod Brown

CHICAGO — Fifty-six senators have signed a letter urging the U.S. Commerce Department to take a harder line on a trade petition brought by domestic producers of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) against imports from South Korea.

The senators said they are worried about Commerce’s preliminary determination in the case and hope that the agency uses "accurate data and objective methodologies" before making a final determination.

"As the department continues the investigation, we ask that you fully consider the domestic industry’s allegations and take action against any unfair dumping to the fullest extent of the law," the senators said in the letter. They pointed out that Korea has no domestic OCTG market and is shipping increasing volumes of energy tubulars to the United States.

Korea was not assessed preliminary anti-dumping duties in an ongoing trade case (, Feb. 18), a move that was decried by domestic steelmakers (, March 25). Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) had said earlier this week that "dozens" of his colleagues would send a letter asking Commerce to act on the issue (, May 13).

OCTG imports have doubled since 2008 and are up 61 percent year-to-date compared with the same period last year, with as much as 50 percent of the pipe used in U.S. drilling operations coming from offshore suppliers, the senators said in the letter. The surge in imports has already seen layoffs hit the U.S. industry (, April 7).

"We have been told that more reductions and layoffs could occur," the lawmakers said, but did not disclose where the next layoffs might occur.

The letter, addressed to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, was signed by senators on both sides of the aisle, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), who also spoke out recently against steel imports.

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