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Pipes are seen at a yard in Kamloops, B.C.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced anti-dumping duties on large-diameter welded pipe from six countries including Canada, hitting a Regina-based steel producer already targeted by the Trump administration’s trade measures.

On Tuesday, the U.S. department announced preliminary determinations in anti-dumping duty investigations of imports of large-diameter welded pipe – used to transport oil, gas and other fluids – from Canada, China, Greece, India, Korea and Turkey.

Dumping occurs when a foreign company sells an imported product at an artificially low price. The U.S. Department of Commerce says it will now instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of large-diameter welded pipe from those six countries. Canada’s rate, based on what U.S. officials say is this country’s artificially low price, is set at 24.38 per cent. The duties take effect within the week.

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“The strict enforcement of U.S. trade law is a primary focus of the Trump Administration,” a news release from the U.S. Department of Commerce said.

“Since the beginning of the current Administration, Commerce has initiated 120 new anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations – this is a 216 per cent increase from the comparable period in the previous administration.”

The move is the latest volley against Canada by the United States, which, in addition to steel and aluminum tariffs, has hit Canada with duties on softwood lumber and newsprint, while seeking concessions on other fronts in fractious talks over a new North American trade deal.

In the crosshairs of the new announcement is Evraz North America PLC, the only producer in Canada of the large-diameter type of pipe targeted by the U.S. anti-dumping duties. Already, Evraz has been affected by the American decision to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico and the European Union under the tenets of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, a trade rule that allows the United States to impose levies for “national security” reasons.

Potentially, it could mean that Evraz could face duties nearing 50 per cent for some of its large-diameter steel pipe.

In a statement, Evraz said it is “disappointed” with the preliminary determination made by the Department of Commerce. “We will continue to participate vigorously in the ongoing investigation by the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission, and we are optimistic that the process will result in a favourable final determination.”

Canada’s Evraz operations are part of a wholly owned subsidiary of Russian-controlled Evraz plc, one of the largest steel and mining businesses in the world. In tours in support for Canada’s steel industry, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has visited Evraz’s Regina plant twice this year – once in March and once on Canada Day.

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On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office also expressed disappointment over the move by the U.S. Department of Commerce, with her spokesman Adam Austen saying government officials are in “close contact” with Evraz over the matter.

“The United States has a $2-billion surplus in steel trade with Canada. Canada buys more steel from the U.S. than any other country, accounting for more than 50 per cent of U.S. exports,” Mr. Austen said.

“We will always stand up for Canadian steel workers and the Canadian steel industry.”

The U.S. department said in 2017, imports of large-diameter welded pipe from Canada were valued at US$180-million. It noted it will make its final determinations on the Canada, Greece, Korea, and Turkey investigations in January, 2019.

The department initiated the dumping investigation in February based on petitions from a group of U.S. pipe producers.

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