India Exports Welded Stainless Pipes to the US as China Undercuts Prices at Home

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Some US steelmakers recently urged regulators to impose anti-dumping duties on Indian exports of welded stainless pressure pipes.Turkish and South Korean producers recently got hit with tariffs for similar products.

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Synalloy Corp.’s unit Bristol LLC, along with Marcegaglia US, and a few others, have petitioned the Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to take action against Indian companies dumping the pipes at less than market prices in the US.

According to reports, Synalloy officials said the import of the pipes from India had increased at an “unbelievable rate” over the past 3 years at prices well below US rates.

Exports to the US Rise

Welded stainless pressure pipe imports from India climbed to 12,101 metric tons from 281 mt between 2012 and 2014.

While US companies that make these products are well within their rights to file such a complaint, ironically, in India, the multi-million Rupee pipe industry is in the doldrums, no thanks to cheaper imports from China.

Stainless steel tubing comes in two forms – seamless and welded. The seamless pipes sector, especially, was recently looking at plant shutdowns and large-scale job cuts.

Chinese Producers Undercut Domestic Indian Steelmakers

Leading producers such as Jindal Saw and Indian Seamless Metal Tubes (ISMT) see practically no demand for their products in the domestic Indian market, due to the large-scale availability of cheaper products from China. So drastic is the situation that Vice President of the Association of Seamless Pipes and Tubes S. Sarkar recently told the Press Trust of India that if there was no improvement in the current situation in the next 3 months, in addition to shutdowns, the sector could see almost 8,000 job cuts. The Indian seamless pipe industry has an installed annual capacity of 1.5 million mt, and provides employment to about 25,000 people.

The source of the rise in Indian pipe exports to the US… is that Chinese imports are undercutting Indian producers at home. Exported pipe is, seemingly, always cheaper to produce somewhere else.

With the downturn in its economy, China, like India, is saddled with a vast inventory of both seamless and welded pipes, largely used in the oil and gas industries, but also for filtration and refrigeration purposes, among others. China is facing anti-dumping and safeguard duties from countries such as the US, the European Union, Canada, Indonesia and Brazil.

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In the US case, the ITC is required to make a preliminary ruling on the companies’ petition within 45 days. The Commerce Department will likely issue preliminary duty rulings in early 2016, with final rulings by both agencies due by late 2016.

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