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US gov't sets duties on steel pipe imports from Korea, 8 others; Favours US producers, unions

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. government has imposed duties on imports of steel pipe from South Korea, India and seven other countries, ruling in favour of U.S. steel producers and unions that had complained those countries were unfairly flooding the American market.

The Commerce Department said Friday it had found that dumping of the steel pipe imports into the U.S. harmed competition. The steel pipe is used mainly in drilling oil and gas wells, and the imports, especially from South Korea, have figured heavily in the recent drilling boom in the southwestern U.S.

Companies including U.S. Steel Corp. as well as the United Steelworkers union had pressed the department to reverse its preliminary decision in February not to impose the duties on South Korea. It had imposed duties on the other countries on a preliminary basis.

In addition to South Korea and India, the countries involved are the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.

The Commerce Department noted that the International Trade Commission, an independent federal agency, is scheduled to make a final ruling next month on whether the steel pipe imports have hurt the U.S. industry.

Following the Commerce announcement, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a trade group, said in a statement, "Today is a good day for America's steelworkers and (steel pipe) producers, and also a good day for the U.S. economy."

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