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SPECIALTY TUBING GROUP SEEKS MEETING WITH PRESIDENT AND EXTENSION OF VRAS

 SPECIALTY TUBING GROUP SEEKS MEETING WITH PRESIDENT
 AND EXTENSION OF VRAS
 WASHINGTON, March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- In a letter to President Bush today the Specialty Tubing Group (STG), comprised of the domestic producers of stainless steel pipe and tube, requested a three-year extension of the Voluntary Restraint Agreements (VRAs) and an early meeting with the president. The VRAs are due to expire on March 31.
 William K. Grant, STG chairman who signed the letter in behalf of the industry, explained to the president that the great difficulty confronting the industry is extremely low-priced imports: "Based upon data compiled by the Census Bureau, for example, it appears that stainless steel pipe and tube from Malaysia, Thailand, Korea and Taiwan are likely being sold below cost. We cannot long withstand this sort of pricing, whose goal must be to drive the United States industry out of business. In fact, some U.S. companies have already been forced to cease operations, and others are in jeopardy."
 As further evidence of an industry under siege, Grant relates that since the mid-1980s the industry has observed a growing influx of imports of stainless steel pipe and tube. He notes that "as the result of efforts by the Specialty Tubing Group, imports of stainless steel pipe and tube from Sweden are subject to an antidumpting duty order, and imports of stainless steel pipe from Korea and Taiwan are currently subject to ongoing antidumping duty investigations. Imports from other countries, notably Malaysia and Thailand, give evidence of quickly becoming a serious problem as well unless preventative measures are taken."
 The letter points out two shortcomings under the current VRA program. First, stainless steel pipe and tube is categorized with carbon and alloy steel pipe and tube. The STG is therefore also asking the president to consider implementation of VRAs on only its products, differentiating between seamless and welded stainless steel pipe and tube, with precisely set, reasonable export ceilings: "Under the VRA program now in place ... Korea ... in 1991 shipped in over 5,000 tons of stainless steel pipe and tube. In 1988, these imports from Korea were 174 tons. We believe that the lack of specific limitations for stainless steel pipe and tube has invited product shifting and increased imports of this merchandise."
 Second, the industry points to Taiwan's ineffectual self- restraint regime noting that "during 1991, imports of stainless steel pipe and tube from Taiwan exceeded 9,000 tons, by far the largest volume from any one country and far ahead of Korea, the second largest supplier."
 The industry is skeptical that satisfactory VRAs can be struck with Korea and Taiwan and is consequently focusing on Malaysia and Thailand "so that our experiences of ruthless pricing and rapid import penetration with the Koreans and Taiwanese will not be repeated."
 In closing the letter to the president, Grant said: "Our companies are doing what is within their control to remain productive and competitive, but imports are sapping our reserves. If we do not have a strong antidumping law and a three-year extension of the VRA program as I have outlined, I fear that our industry will be decimated at great human cost and to the detriment of our country."
 The Specialty Tubing Group is a coalition of stainless steel pipe and tubing manufacturers and supplier companies. Supporting members are Allegheny Ludlum Corporation, Pittsburgh; Avesta Stainless, Inc., Schaumburg, Ill.; Bristol Metals, Bristol, Tenn.; Carpenter Technology, Reading, Pa.; Damascuus Tubular Products, Greenville, Pa.; J&L Specialty Products Corporation, Pittsburgh; Synalloy Corporation, Spartanburg, S.C.; Trent Tube Division, East Troy, Wis.; and Washington Steel Corporation, Washington, Pa.
 -0- 3/6/92
 /NOTE: A copy of the STG letter to the president is available on request./
 /CONTACT: Meg Mullery for the Specialty Tubing Group, 202-342-8439/ CO: Specialty Tubing Group ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG SU: EXE


TW -- DC009 -- 5843 03/06/92 12:00 EST
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Date:Mar 6, 1992
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