"Domestic steel pipe producers are being crippled by an onslaught of foreign competitors illegally dumping imports in the United States," Senator Sherrod Brown said, days after the Commerce Department launched a probe against South Korea, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine of unfair and illegal trade practices.

Brown and Senator Rob Portman on Monday called on the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to protect domestic producers of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) from foreign competitors that use unfair and illegal trade practices.

"The International Trade Commission must commit to Ohio's workers and businesses and crack down on countries that sell their products at unfair prices. As our trade deficit widens, leveling the playing field is the only way to protect local jobs, and in the future, create them," Browne said after sending the joint letter to US ITC.

Noting that Ohio-based companies that produce Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) support many good-paying jobs in the state, Portman said if the ITC does not stand up for these goods manufactured in US and punish the foreign companies who are flooding US markets with unfairly imported cheap products, businesses and thousands of American workers will be at risk.

"American manufactured goods must be allowed to compete with their global competitors on a level playing field," Portman said. OCTG are used for domestic oil exploration, particularly in the shale industry, and are produced in Ohio by companies including US Steel in Lorain, Wheatland Tube Company in Warren, Vallourec Star in Youngstown and TMK IPSCO in Brookfield.

Each is among the plaintiffs accusing South Korea, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine of unfair and illegal trade practices. The two Senators said OCTG imports from these countries have increased from 840,000 net tons in 2010 to more than 1,770,000 net tons in 2012, with the number continuing to rise.

Despite historically high level of demand for steel pipe, its domestic industry in United States has deteriorated due to imports, which data shows, have consistently and substantially undersold the market.

This has resulted in petitions that allege dumping margins of at least 30 percent, and in most cases, significantly more, the lawmakers said.

(Agencies)

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