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April 17, 2017

U.S. Commerce Department Uses New Authority To Set Duties On Korean OCTG

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that it had found that South Korean steel producers have been unfairly dumping oil country tubular goods (OCTG) into the U.S. market, hurting American workers and businesses, and that it would impose duties on OCTG imports from South Korea as a result. 

According to the department, during the period (July 2014 to August 2015) covered by its administrative review, OCTG imports from South Korea were valued at an estimated $1.1 billion and accounted for nearly 25 percent of all U.S. imports of OCTG. The dumping margins ranged from 2.76 percent to 24.92 percent, and these are the levels where the new duties will be set. 

In this case, the department, for the first time, exercised its authority under Section 504 of the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 to address market distortions in the production of foreign merchandise, and to calculate dumping margins that more accurately account for the unfair pricing practices of foreign exporters. As Politico explained that law, which the Metals Service Center Institute supported when it was being debated in Congress, allowed “the U.S. to apply a ‘particular market situation’ as justification for ratcheting up duties—which it did in this case by raising the maximum tariffs from 16 percent to 24.9 percent.” 

In the department’s statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, “There is fair and unfair trade, and the distinction is not very hard to make. We will not stand for the distortions in foreign markets being used against U.S. businesses. The Trump administration will continue to employ all of the tools provided under the law to take swift action against harmful trade practices from foreign nations attempting to take advantage of our markets, workers, and businesses.”