SHANGHAI, Oct. 14 (SMM) -- The US Department of Commerce said on October 7th that it would initiate anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into seamless steel pipes imported from China after the EU decided to impose anti-dumping tax on China's seamless steel pipes. The products involved in investigations include seamless carbon steel, alloy steel standard pipes, pipeline pipes and pressure pipes, which are mainly used in industrial conveyor system for the transportation of water, steam, oil products, natural gas and other liquid and gas.
Stainless steel seamless pipes producers are mainly in the Yangtze River Delta area. According to a domestic enterprise, China's total output of stainless steel seamless pipes is expected to reach 350kt in 2009, with 30-40% of total output exported to foreign countries. As previous exports have been negatively affected by financial crisis, exports of stainless steel seamless pipes will not likely experience further significant declines.
A stainless steel enterprise in Wenzhou said their operating rates have declined increasingly since late August to 60% in October, with no marked negative impact reported on its 200mt of stainless steel seamless pipes. However, a number of export-oriented enterprises in neighboring area were concerned about future exports, since their domestic sales need time to improve. In addition, continuous growth in domestic stainless steel market inventories exerts greater pressure constantly on stainless steel enterprises and market players.
China's stainless steel output is expected to reach more than 8 million mt in 2009, and output of stainless steel seamless pipes only accounts for 4.4% in total stainless steel output, with exports estimated at 120kt. In this context, any impact from US anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into seamless steel pipes imported from China on stainless steel industry will be limited. In the mean time, the output of stainless steel seamless pipes is low, limiting nickel consumption. Hence, any impact from US move on China's nickel market will be limited as well. Declines in domestic NPI prices and its weak sales were attributed to domestic sluggish stainless steel market conditions.
The US Department of Commerce launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations at the request of the U.S. Steel Corporation, V&M Star LP, TMK IPSCO and the United Steelworkers (USW). The US petitioners requested a 98.37-percent anti-dumping duty against the Chinese imports and additional countervailing duties to offset what they allege are Chinese government subsidies. The US Department of Commerce said China's exports of seamless steel pipes to the US increased by 132% from 2006 to 2008, with export value reaching USD 382 million in 2008.
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) will make the preliminary rulings around November 2nd this year. If the USITC agreed with the rulings, the US Department of Commerce will make the preliminary rulings for anti-subsidy tax in December 2009 and for anti-dumping tax in February 2010. According to the Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports and Exports of the Ministry of Commerce, this case was the sixth such investigations launched by the US government against China's steel pipes since 2007. Previously, the US has launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into standard pipes, pipeline pipes, welded tubes in pressure pipes, thin-walled rectangular pipes, and OCTG imported from China.
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