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Economy and Business

Ohio pipemakers say foreign steel is crowding them out of the shale boom
The push is on for tariffs to county what U.S. manufacturers say is dumping at below-market prices

The shale boom originally meant big investment in U.S. steel pipe, but some of that has shifted to foreign producers.
Courtesy of File photo
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In The Region:

Shale drilling across much of the United States has increased demand for steel pipe, which has benefited U.S. steel producers, but that picture is starting to change. For Ohio Public Radio, Brian Bull reports:

LISTEN: Shale pipe competition

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Increasingly, it’s foreign steel makers enjoying the payoff from the shale boom. 

An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows U.S. steel imports spiked 26 percent in the first three months of 2014. South Korea, China and India are flooding the U.S. market with steel tubes used in oil and gas production and selling them at below-market-rates.

U.S. Steel Corp. blames this trend for its idling of two mills in Texas and Pennsylvania this summer. 

Company spokeswoman Courtney Boone says its Ohio plant is also affected.

“In the last three years, we’ve made upwards of $200 million of investment to create a competitive advantage for Lorain. Unfortunately, because of the large quantity of unfairly traded tubular products and imports, the company’s not realizing the benefit.”

Nonunion shops have issues, too
The pro-union Economic Policy Institute, estimates 34,000 steel jobs in Ohio are at risk if what it calls “dumping” continues.

Politicians and steel industry leaders alike are calling for greater enforcement of trade laws. But non-union steel companies also are calling for a more level playing field. 

Dan DiMicco is chairman emeritus at Nucor Corporation.

“You’re gonna have to put tariffs on the final products, and get them to understand that they can’t dump it here without penalty,” he says.

Meanwhile, U.S. Steel is suing South Korea for alleged dumping.



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