Ruling to protect Region 8 steel workers

LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP) - Sen. Blanche Lincoln says a ruling intended to protect U.S. oil-and-gas pipe makers from subsidized Chinese imports will help Arkansas companies and workers hurt by the unfair competition.

The International Trade Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to impose $2.8 billion in tariffs on annual steel pipe exports, acting on a complaint by the United Steelworkers union and six companies, including two with plants in northeast Arkansas TMK IPSCO and Maverick Tube Corp.

Lincoln said that, in addition to TMK and Maverick, steel supplier Nucor Corp., with two major mills in Mississippi County, had been hurt by the imports from China.

"This trade relief is critical to protecting the jobs of the Arkansas steel pipe industry," Lincoln said in a news release Thursday. "Our workers deserve a fair playing field, free of predatory foreign trade practices that hamper important domestic industries."

Lincoln testified before the ITC in support of the U.S. complaint.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)