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Minnesota’s Senators Welcome Steel Decision

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s U.S. senators and governor are welcoming a ruling Friday from the U.S. International Trade Commission that they say will open the door for strong action against the dumping of South Korean steel at artificially low prices on the American market.

The ITC found that unfairly priced steel pipes used in oil drilling from South Korea and five other countries are harming U.S. steelmakers. The decision will allow the Commerce Department to impose tariffs to offset their gains. The decision also applies to steel piping from India, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.

Both Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken had urged the ITC last month to take action to protect the domestic steel industry. The two Minnesota Democrats, along with other colleagues, also wrote to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in May expressing concern about the department’s preliminary determination that South Korea was not dumping steel in the U.S. The Commerce Department reconsidered that decision last month.

The Minnesota Democrats issued statements hailing Friday’s vote.

“This is a significant victory for hardworking miners in Minnesota and across the country, and I’m pleased that the ITC heeded our calls for action,” Klobuchar said.

“American iron and steel producers and our workers can compete with anyone in the world on a level playing field,” Franken said. “But we can’t accept when other countries dump their goods here at anti-competitive prices, undercutting Minnesota’s producers.”

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who raised the issue in a letter to President Barack Obama last month, said in his own statement that the ITC’s decision should help to restore fairness to the market.

U.S. Steel Corp., which owns the Minntac and Keetac iron ore mines and processing plants on northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, also welcomed the decision, though its statement noted that it believes three other countries are also dumping the same kind of pipes, known officially as “oil country tubular goods.”

“The International Trade Commission’s diligent and conscientious investigation and affirmative final vote clearly recognized that these six countries … imported OCTG using unfair methods and market distorting pricing,” U.S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi said in a statement. “The dumped imports from all nine countries have caused material injury to the American market and the American worker. Orders have been reduced, mills idled and jobs have been lost.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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