US anti-dumping threat against Omani pipe exporters lifted

31/03/2012 08:13 AST  Oman Daily Observer

The US government has decided not to impose anti-dumping duties on Omani manufacturers suspected of selling steel pipes in the United States at below-market prices. The decision, issued last week, follows an investigation by the US Department of Commerce on a petition filed by a consortium of American steel producers seeking “import relief” against what they claimed as dumping by a number of international pipe manufacturers.

Oman was named along with Vietnam, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the complaint submitted by four US pipe manufacturers alleging that imports of welded circular steel pipes were priced below cost. The petition was filed jointly by Pennsylvania-based steel firms US Steel Corp and Wheatland Tube Co, as well as Illinois-based Allied Tube & Conduit and JMC Steel Group of Chicago. They claimed that dumping by exporters from the four countries in question hurt steel plants in 16 US states.

Based on the recommendations of the US International Trade Commission, which launched a preliminary probe into the petition, the Department of Commerce initiated countervailing duty investigations of circular welded carbon quality steel pipes from Oman and the three countries named in the complaint.

The investigation, which commenced last November, was aimed at determining the amount of duties necessary to offset government subsidies allegedly enjoyed by exporters from Oman and the other countries.

It was disclosed at the time that around 12 per cent of the estimated 1.4 million tons of circular welded steel pipe sold in the United States in 2010, worth around $1.4 billion, came from the four countries. Imports from Oman were estimated at $28.1 million.

Last week, after a roughly four-month probe, the Department of Commerce decided against levying any countervailing duties against Omani pipe exporters, on the ground that there was little or no evidence of subsidies enjoyed by these companies. UAE exporters too received a similar reprieve.

However, the Department imposed a preliminary import duty of nearly 286 per cent on circular welded steel pipes from India. Vietnamese exports were levied a duty of around 8 per cent. A final decision on import duty tariffs is expected in August.

The decision is expected to come as cheery news for Oman’s rapidly expanding steel pipe manufacturing industry. Based largely in the industrial hub of Sohar, Omani pipe manufacturers have lately been making inroads into the lucrative North American market. The pipe manufacturing sector in the Sultanate is expected to grow as investors seek to leverage their proximity to Sohar’s iron and steel hub for their feedstock requirements.

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