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China bristles at U.S. pipe tariff

China criticizes a U.S. decision to slap antidumping duties on Chinese-made steel pipes, demanding that Washington reverse the move and saying its goods are no threat to American producers.

China is criticizing a U.S. decision to slap antidumping duties on Chinese-made steel pipes, demanding that Washington reverse the move and saying its goods are no threat to American producers.

A worker stands on oilwell pipes at a factory in Huaibei, in central China's Anhui province. China criticized a U.S. decision to impose antidumping duties on Chinese-made pipes. ((Associated Press))

The U.S. International Trade Commission's decision will affect Chinese exports worth about $2.8 billion US, resulting in the biggest steel trade dispute in U.S. history.

"The Chinese side expresses strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to this ruling," the Commerce Ministry said Thursday in a release. It called on Washington to "correct its mistake" and avoid trade protectionism.

The ITC voted Wednesday to impose duties of 10.36 to 15.78 per cent on the pipes, used mostly in the oil and gas industries. That is intended to offset government subsidies it said China provides its steelmakers.

Beijing and Washington are embroiled in a string of disputes over access to each other's market for tires, pipes, movies and other goods. They have accused each other of improperly trying to support their producers despite a pledge by global leaders to avoid protectionism in response to the economic crisis.

The Chinese statement said that if the U.S. panel failed to take the crisis into account as the source of American companies' problems, "then it is a mistake to say Chinese oil pipes are harming American producers."

"Chinese exports of oil pipe to the United States cannot be causing injury or threats for American producers" because the energy industry is growing and demand for pipe is rising, the statement said.

Trade spats galore

"The Chinese side urges the American side to face squarely the objective facts, take effective measures to correct its mistake, put forth a fair, just, reasonable ruling and keep its promise to oppose trade protectionism," it said.

The ITC will decide in the spring whether to impose additional tariffs of up to 96 per cent to penalize Chinese steelmakers for dumping.

China is the world's biggest steel producer and has faced complaints it is harming foreign producers by dumping steel in foreign markets. China has been involved in trade disputes with the United States, the European Union and Canada.

In November, the Canada Border Services Agency made a preliminary determination that certain Chinese steel products used in the oil and gas industry have been subsidized or dumped into the Canadian market and imposed a preliminary duty of up to 182 per cent.

Welland, Ont.-based Lakeside Steel Inc. initiated the complaint against imports from China — along with Tenaris and Evraz, two international steel producers with operations in Canada — and said it will participate in ongoing investigations to ensure fair trade.

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