USW pipe workers, producers fighting unfair China imports

American pipe workers and seven producers of standard pipe will be joined by members of Congress, steel suppliers and customers to stop an unfair surge of China pipe imports at a public hearing Friday (Sept. 16) before the International Trade Commission. The 30 pipe workers who will be at the ITC hearing are members of the United Steelworkers (USW) from operating plants in Ohio and Illinois, plus a bus coming from Wheatland Tube Co. and Sharon Tube Co. in Western Pennsylvania...

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 14, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- American pipe workers and seven producers of standard pipe will be joined by members of Congress, steel suppliers and customers to stop an unfair surge of China pipe imports at a public hearing that starts at 9:30 AM (ET) this Friday (Sept. 16) before the International Trade Commission (ITC) at 500 E Street, SW.

The 30 pipe workers who will be at the ITC hearing are members of the United Steelworkers (USW) from operating plants in Ohio and Illinois, plus a bus coming from Wheatland Tube Co. and Sharon Tube Co. in Western Pennsylvania.

According to the petition filed under a special provision of trade law, China imports of standard pipe have surged from 9,000 tons in 2002 to 266,000 tons in 2004 and nearly 200,000 tons in the first half of this year. China pipe prices are less than the cost of raw materials. The impact on U.S. pipe makers has caused shipment levels to plummet, layoffs and wage reductions for domestic pipe workers.

Standard pipe is used to convey water, steam and gases in plumbing, air conditioning and heating, building fire sprinklers, sign posts, fence, auto and other applications.

Scheduled to testify at the start of the hearing are: U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR); U.S. Reps. Phil English (R-PA), Melissa Hart (R-PA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Bob Ney (R-OH), Marion Berry (D-AR), Vic Snyder (D-AR), and other congressional members.

Also testifying are Peter Dooner, president, Wheatland Tube Co., Sharon, PA.; Bill Perrine, president, Sharon Tube in Sharon, PA.; Will Boggs, vice president, Allied Tube & Conduit Corp., Harvey, IL.; Tom Conway, USW international vice president, Pittsburgh, PA.; Pat Tatom, president, WCI Steel Corp., Warren, OH; and Harry Page, Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Co., Wheeling, WV. State legislators participating from Pennsylvania and Arkansas are: Michael P.Guritza (D-PA-7) and Marvin Childers (R-AR-77).

U.S. producers who filed the trade case are: Allied Tube & Counduit Corp., IPSCO Tubulars, Inc., Maruichi American Corp., Maverick Tube Corp., Sharon Tube Co., Western Tube & Conduit Corp., Wheatland Tube Co. and the USW. The companies employ 2,500 workers in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

The trade case was filed under Section 421, passed by Congress in 2000 when China was granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations by the U.S. to protect domestic industries from China import surges. The trade deficit between the U.S. and China has grown to $160 billion since the WTO accession. Despite unanimous findings by the ITC in three previous Section 421 cases that China imports caused material injury to the domestic industries involved, President Bush has consistently denied any relief available to the workers and their industries.

In the 2003 case of an ITC ruling for a USW represented ductile iron waterworks fitting company, over 300 workers subsequently lost their jobs. The producer is now building a plant in China.

An affirmative decision by the ITC in late September would advance the petition to President Bush for a final determination granting relief to stem the flood of pipe imports. Roger B.Schagrin of Schagrin Associates in Washington is the trade counsel handling the petition. For more information http://usitc.gov.

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