U.S. producers of stainless steel butt-weld pipe fittings in
mid-February pointed to increasing volumes of low-priced imports
from China as a serious and growing problem.
"What is occurring here is a remarkable influx of Chinese
stainless fittings over a very short period of time and at depressed
values," said David A. Hartquist, an international trade counsel
speaking on behalf of the Flowline Division of Markovitz
Enterprises, Gerlin and Shaw Alloy Piping Products.
Official U.S. Census Bureau data reflect that from an annual
volume of 287,223 kilograms in 2002, stainless fittings imports from
China skyrocketed 403% to 1,446,603 kg through the first 11 months
of 2005. China is now the largest single source of stainless
fittings imported into the United States among all countries that
export stainless fittings to the U.S. market.
From January to November 2005, the average unit value of the
Chinese stainless fittings was $8.91, almost 15% less than the
average unit value of $10.46 during that period for total stainless
steel fittings imported into the United States from all other
"As disturbing as these trends are, they are not surprising given
the unfair advantages Chinese producers have, not the least of which
are the Chinese government's manipulative undervaluation of the yuan
and other subsidies," Hartquist said. "We intend to monitor these
imports from China very closely and take action as appropriate."
Hartquist practices international trade law at the Washington law
firm Collier Shannon Scott, where he serves as chairman of the
International Trade and Customs section.