Brown urges Commerce action over Russia's obstruction in metal alloy dumping investigation

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules MORE (D-Ohio) urged the Commerce Department on Thursday to determine if Russia is impeding an investigation into the dumping of metal alloy imports used to make steel.

Brown sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker urging her department to take action if Russia continues stalling an investigation by leaving out necessary data about whether it is dumping ferrosilicon into the U.S. market.

"I am troubled by reports that Russian producers are impeding the investigation by changing and withholding key information needed to determine the dumping margin properly,” Brown wrote.  

Specifically, Russian producers are not providing accurate data about home market sales process, products sold and dates of sale, he said.

“These concealments and misreporting can lead to a negative preliminary determination, which would limit Commerce’s ability to impose trade remedies on Russian imports.”

He said that a ferrosilicon plant in Ohio has been injured by the Russian imports “and it is critical that the department issue a final determination that will allow U.S. producers and their workers to compete with the dumped imports on a fair basis.”

"That means holding accountable countries that violate trade law by illegally dumping their products into our markets," he said.

Last week, in a separate but similar case, Brown and Ohio Republican Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him How four GOP senators guided a tax-bill victory behind the scenes MORE led a group of 57 senators in calling on the Obama administration to protect U.S. steel manufacturers in a major trade case before the Commerce Department that involves oil country tubular goods, which are used in the petroleum industry.

They are used for domestic oil and gas exploration — especially shale— and are produced by several Ohio companies. 

“This case has nationwide economic implications and any final determination must be based on accurate data and objective methodologies," they wrote.

"As the department continues the investigation, we ask that you fully consider the domestic industry’s allegations and take action against any unfair dumping to the fullest extent of the law."

The department is investigating the dumping, or intentional underselling, of tubular goods from nine countries: India, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.