Ahead of US President Obama’s visit to China, the US has imposed anti-dumping tariffs of up to 99% on imports of Chinese tubular goods. The department alleges that China has been selling its pipes at prices that are much lower than normal, slapping preliminary anti-dumping duties on US$ 2.63 billion in Chinese-made pipes used in the oil and gas industry, in the biggest US trade action against China to date.
The US commerce department said it has 'determined that Chinese producers/exporters have sold OCTG (oil country tubular goods) in the United States at prices ranging from zero to 99.14% less than normal value'. Several US companies and trade groups had petitioned the Commerce Department to examine Chinese under-pricing. The comments have sparked a row with China, which has denounced the actions of the United States as protectionist.
China has vowed to protect its industrial interests and has issued a statement saying 'China resolutely opposes the abuse of protectionist measures, and will take measures to protect the interests of [its] domestic industry'.
China’s Commerce Ministry has pressed for recognition as a market economy, saying, 'we hope that the US will set aside its biases and as quickly as possible recognize China’s market economic status'. Beijing has filed a World Trade Organisation challenge to the anti-dumping duties.
US and Chinese officials held talks in China this October, in which trade dispute topics ruffled some feathers, amid claims of protectionism and a wide US trade deficit with China.
President Obama will visit China from 15th November and trade matters are likely to be high on the agenda. In September, The US imposed duties on Chinese-made tyres to protect US domestic industry: the first trade dispute in Obama’s presidency. China has since requested consultations on the duties imposed on tyres, and instigated its own anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into imports of US chicken parts and automotive parts.
China pipe industry
Pipes have been a growth market for China: exports to the US tripled to US$ 2.63 billion between 2007 and 2008.
Spokesperson from pipe producer Changzhou Darun, Zhang Kemin, said 'these duties have a big effect, and we no longer export to the US…clients don’t dare order from Chinese producers anymore'.
Similar trade disputes have emerged as the global economic crisis increased competition with American manufacturers.
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