Washington decision could boost Warren steel company

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – As companies like Wheatland Tube struggle to grow their share of the steel pipe market for the domestic energy industry, they picked up some support recently from Washington.

“Obviously we’re very pleased with what came out of the Department of Commerce on Friday,” Stefan Vogt of Wheatland Tube said.

Late last week, administrators determined South Korea and a number of other countries are dumping their products into America, undercutting U.S. companies.

But the final determination is in two parts: the International Trade Commission will take up the issue with a hearing Tuesday in Washington.

“We can’t make any decisions until we see what’s going on with the ITC ruling and how the market shakes out,” Vogt said.

Last month, we toured the company’s plant in Warren along with Senator Sherrod Brown. Managers blamed foreign dumping for the layoffs of 40 workers at this facility alone. Valley Congressman Tim Ryan has also been pressing for tariffs on foreign goods whose prices are kept low by government subsidies.

“We have the wealth that people want to get their products into. So with that needs to come a great deal of vigilance when we’re talking about enforcing trade laws,” Ryan said.

Officials with the ITC toured the Warren plant a couple of months ago, and local managers are hoping for a favorable ruling after this week’s hearing.

“They clearly understand the problem,” Vogt said.

In the meantime, Ryan admits efforts to enforce US trade laws won’t end here.

“And I think that’s what’s important here, is to set the tone to these other countries that you can try, but we will eventually find you.

A decision by the ITC is expected in about a month.

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