The domestic industry largely prevailed in trade cases against unfair imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) when the International Trade Commission (Commission) voted on its final determinations on August 22. The Commission made affirmative determinations against imports from India, Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam. The Commission voted against relief on imports from the Philippines and Thailand, which were relatively minor import sources. The domestic industry also suffered a defeat in its case against Saudi Arabia when the Department of Commerce (Commerce) found de minimis dumping margins and those imports were deemed fairly traded. Likewise, a major producer in Taiwan is not covered by relief because it was selected as a respondent and Commerce found that the company was not dumping. A Turkish producer was also found not to be dumping, but it was found to have benefitted from subsidies, resulting in a significant countervailing duty rate. Previous Trade & Manufacturing Alert coverage of Commerce's final determination and preliminary determination in these investigations is available here and here.

Domestic producer U.S. Steel indicated that it is evaluating a possible appeal of Commerce's margin findings with respect to imports from Saudi Arabia, as well as the Commission's negative determinations with respect to Thailand and the Philippines. Overall, however, the domestic industry was pleased with the results of the trade action, particularly because Commerce increased antidumping duties on imports from Korea in its final margin calculations and the Commission made affirmative determinations with respect to substantially all subject imports. Industry analysts predict that, despite the duties, imports from the subject countries will continue, but that market prices will rise, particularly because demand for OCTG is increasing. 

The OCTG cases have a very high profile, and Commerce recently took the extraordinary step of publicly emphasizing that politics do not affect the administration of trade cases. It stated as follows: "Commerce conducts all investigations in an open and transparent manner, in accordance with all U.S. statutes and international obligations. The United States administers one of the most open and transparent trade remedy systems in the world." 

Advocates for U.S. manufacturing lamented the lengthy administrative process itself and that domestic manufacturing must suffer injury for a long period of time prior to getting relief. The United Steel Workers union urged Congress to "take the lead on these issues," because workers are "confronted by a trade policy where we only win by losing due to our government's misguided approach that requires workers and industries be injured before they can get relief." Likewise, the Alliance for American Manufacturing noted that "{i}t's a shame that so much damage has to be done before America's workers and companies can secure a level playing field. That needs to change."