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SPECIALTY STEEL PRODUCERS AND UNION CHARGE DUMPING

 WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Five specialty steel producers and the steelworkers union filed anti-dumping petitions today against Brazil, France and India, charging dumping of stainless steel wire rod in the U.S. market at prices between 17.8 percent and 48.8 percent below fair value. Dumping, an unfair trade practice under U.S. law, is defined as selling imported products at less than home market price or below their production cost.
 The cases were filed by the five domestic producers of stainless steel wire rod: Al Tech Specialty Steel, Dunkirk, N.Y.; Armco Stainless & Alloy Products, Baltimore; Carpenter Technology Corp., Reading, Pa.; Republic Engineered Steels, Massilon, Ohio; and Talley Metals Technology, Inc., Hartsville, S.C. The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) joined in the petition.
 According to William J. Pendleton, director of corporate affairs for Carpenter Technology Corporation, "These unfairly priced imports have already contributed this year to a decision by one producer, the Specialty Metals Division of Crucible Materials Corporation in Syracuse, N.Y., to cease production of stainless steel wire rod. Also, significant operating losses on sales of wire rod in the first half of this year had been reported in the aggregate by the remaining five producers."
 As indicated in a release issued on Dec. 15, this filing represents the first of a series of unfair trade cases under U.S. trade laws being planned for the industry and the union. Pendleton stated that the domestic stainless rod producers plan to request an administrative review of an existing countervailing duty order covering imports of stainless wire rod from Spain and will be watching producers from other countries for illegal dumping practices. "Furthermore, the specialty steel industry is closely monitoring imports of all other forms of specialty products for import surges and possible unfair trade practices," Pendleton said.
 The subject petition states that the domestic stainless steel wire rod industry is especially import-sensitive and vulnerable to injury by unfair import competition, described as "a chronic problem for the industry for over 15 years." It notes that Presidents Carter, Reagan and Bush each have acknowledged the product's import- sensitive nature by granting relief through various trade actions; most recently by the inclusion of stainless steel wire rod in Voluntary Restraint Arrangements (VRAs). VRAs, which expired on March 31, 1992, are government-to-government agreements limiting imports of certain products.
 As Pendleton pointed out: "Foreign producers in Brazil and France, among others, waited for the expiration of the VRAs to increase shipments of stainless steel wire rod to the United States to unprecedented levels. India, unrestrained by VRA limits, took advantage of the restraints on other suppliers to secure a rapidly growing share of the U.S. market using aggressive, unfairly low pricing. The result is the alarming deterioration of the U.S. industry, especially in the first six months of this year."
 According to public documents, imports have increased 65 percent in the first nine months of this year to 29,125 tons of rod product. This penetration is a 33 percent increase over the same nine-month period of last year.
 The industry's predicament is most clearly exhibited by the steep, 23 percent decline in net sales from $128.9 million in 1989 to $100.1 million in 1991. Sales declined even further in the first half of 1992, to $42.1 million, a drop of 20.8 percent from the corresponding period of 1991.
 During this same period, the average number of employees dropped steadily, from 1,412 workers in 1989 to 1,101 workers in 1991, a decline of 22 percent. This decline in workers did not improve in the first six months of 1992, even as stainless steel wire rod consumption in the U.S. market was increasing. The average number of production and related workers in this latest period was 1,008 workers, a 19 percent decline from the number employed in January- June 1991.
 The dumping charges will be investigated by the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission to determine whether there is a reasonable indication of material injury or threat of material injury to the domestic industry.
 The petitions filed allege "critical circumstances" with respect to imports of stainless steel wire rod from Brazil and France. If the Department of Commerce agrees, entries into the United States within 90 days before the date of a preliminary finding of dumping will also be affected by any final dumping order.
 The United Steelworkers of America represents 650,000 workers in North America employed in the primary and secondary metals industry as well as other industries.
 The Specialty Steel Industry of the United States represents virtually all U.S. producers of stainless and alloy tool steels, and other high technology metals. The industry employs approximately 35,000 men and women and has annual shipments of more than $5 billion.
 -0- 12/30/92
 /CONTACT: Gary Hubbard of the United Steelworkers of America, 412-562-2442; or Bert Delano, 412-394-2813, or Meg Mullery, 202-342-8439, both for the Specialty Steel Industry of the United States/


CO: Specialty Steel Industry of the United States; The United
 Steelworkers of America ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG SU:


DC -- DC009 -- 0659 12/30/92 14:55 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 30, 1992
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