US hits Chinese pipes with 132% import duties

A worker welds pipe at an Ohio factory in 2016; Washington has said China was selling large diameter welded pipe used in the oil and gas industry far below the fair price, harming US industry

On the eve of renewing talks to try to defuse the spiraling trade dispute with China, the US Commerce Department hit the country with import duties of 132 percent on metal pipe.

Commerce said China was selling the large diameter welded pipe used in the oil and gas industry far below the fair price, and that dumping harms US industry, according to the preliminary decision.

US imports of the pipe from China last year totaled $180 million.

Although this case is a separate from the series of punitive tariffs that President Donald Trump has imposed on thousands of Chinese goods, it is another example of the aggressive tactics against Beijing to try to protect US industry and lower the trade deficit.

Canada also was found to be dumping the product, and will face duties of over 24 percent, while India was slapped with a tax of over 50 percent, Commerce said.

Greece and Korea will face 22 percent duties, while Turkey will be charged up to five percent.

Six US pipe manufacturers filed the antidumping complaint with the Commerce Department in January.

Commerce said it will make a final ruling in November on whether the pipe from China and India is dumped into the US market.

However, if the independent International Trade Commission finds that US industry was not harmed from the imports, the duties will be refunded. That decision is due December 20.

The Commerce Department's final ruling on Canada and the others is due in January, with the ITC due to rule the following month.