Steelmakers could face punitive action from the United States after it ruled yesterday that "subsidized" steel pipe imports from China are hurting its industry.
The charge is the result of a countervailing and anti-dumping investigation launched by the US against Chinese steel-pipe makers in June.
The US International Trade Commission said: "There is a reasonable indication that an industry in the United States is materially injured, or threatened with material injury, by reason of imports from China of circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe".
It claims the Chinese products receive government subsidies and are sold in the US at less than fair value.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce declined to comment yesterday. But when the investigation was launched in June it said China was strongly opposed to the probe.
Steel pipe imported from South Korea, Mexico and Turkey is also subject to the US charge.
The US commerce department will continue the investigation and is scheduled to make preliminary rulings on the "margin of subsidy and dumping" on September 20 and December 4.
The US industry claims Chinese steelmakers have been subsidized by the government for years.
It has filed several anti-dumping or dual complaints (anti-dumping and countervailing) with the US government against Chinese manufacturers this year.
But local steelmakers and exporters refute the charge. They say the US claims are groundless and the steel industry has developed out of China's market economy rather than with the help of government subsidies.
The China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters also said the US had given US$100 billion in long-term subsidies to its industry over the past three to four decades.
(China Daily August 16, 2007)