WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department issued a preliminary ruling Tuesday in favor of an antidumping complaint filed by the U.S. steel industry against seamless stainless-steel pipe products from Japan.
This follows a Dec. 10 preliminary ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission that the imports are materially hurting U.S. industry.
If the latest ruling is upheld in final decisions expected by the department on July 5 and the ITC on Aug. 21, punitive duties corresponding to antidumping margins will be levied against those imports.
The Commerce Department set the dumping margins at 156.81 percent on imports from Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. and Sanyo Special Steel Co., and 62.14 percent on imports from all other Japanese makers.
Six U.S. steelmakers and the United Steelworkers of America filed a petition with the Commerce Department and the ITC , an independent federal agency, last October, complaining that the imports are being sold at unfair prices in the U.S.
The petitioners have claimed that Japan’s exports of products to the U.S. surged 43 percent from 1996 to 1998, while the average U.S. customs value of these imports on a weight basis fell 30 percent during the same period.
The products are used for nuclear and conventional power plants, stock lines for petrochemical facilities, pharmaceutical production lines and food processing equipment.
Japanese steel makers reacted harshly to the ruling.
In a statement released Wednesday in Tokyo, Nippon Steel Corp. called the ruling an attempt to “exclude Japanese products from the U.S. market.”
Claiming that Japanese steel exports are not harming U.S. firms, Nippon Steel said, “We are confident that the ITC will make a fair judgment in its final ruling.”