United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have found evidence that that Blue Pipe Steel Center Co Ltd evaded a US anti-dumping duty order on circular welded carbon steel pipe and tube from Thailand by misrepresenting product specifications, it said.
“Substantial evidence on the record demonstrates that Blue Pipe entered covered merchandise by means of false statements or omissions,” the CBP said on Friday September 11, issuing its final determination on the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) investigation.
Domestic petitioners' legal counsel praised the decision.
“It is critical that Customs continue to aggressively apply the EAPA statute to ensure that the relief the domestic industry is owed under the statute is not undermined by importers’ pernicious duty-evasion schemes,” Robert DeFrancesco, a partner at Washington law firm Wiley and legal counsel to one of the domestic producers in the investigation, told Fastmarkets.
The domestic petitioners involved in launching the investigation included Wheatland Tube Co, Independence Tube Corp and Southland Tube.
“The investigation took a long time, and during that time - through the circumvention - Thailand was able to capture a lot of the market at our expense and at the US consumers' expense,” Barry Zekelman, chairman and chief executive officer Zekelman Industries, told Fastmarkets. Zekelman Industries is the parent company of Wheatland Tube.
The CBP said that evidence from the investigation showed that Blue Pipe misrepresented dual stenciled pipe, meeting both American Society for Testing and Materials A53 standard pipe specifications and American Petroleum Institute (API) 5L line pipe specifications.
“They put product that was dangerously mislabeled and falsely labeled into the market which could cause injury or death. There’s product that is API labeled and does not meet API certifications, and if the general consumer got it they would use it for a gas or water line in a house, and what if that blew up?” Zekelman said, estimating that Blue Pipe circumvented approximately $35-40 million in duties.
Fastmarkets latest assessment for steel ERW standard pipe A53 Grade B, fob mill US was at $880-930 per ton on September 8, up by 1.1% from $870-920 per ton previously but down by 7.2% from $960-990 per ton in early September 2019.
“Rules are established for a reason and we want everyone to play within the rules that are set; that’s all we’re asking,” Zekelman said.