* President Rousseff: will protect strong domestic market
* Tax on Chinese steel tubes used in oil industry
* Anti-dumping taxes to be applied retroactively
(Recasts, adds Rousseff comments, byline)
By Raymond Colitt
BRASILIA, Sept 6 Brazil vowed on Tuesday to
defend its domestic industry against unfair competition and
slapped import tariffs on select Chinese steel products.
It is the latest in a series of measures to defend
struggling domestic manufacturers and help shield Latin
America's largest economy from the fallout of global financial
The Latin American economic powerhouse will impose an
anti-dumping tariff of $743 per tonne on steel pipes, the
government's foreign trade chamber said. The levy will be valid
for five years.
The pipes are used in Brazil's oil and gas industry, which
is booming following big hydrocarbon discoveries in recent
The move is part of a broader effort by President Dilma
Rousseff, who took office on Jan. 1, to get tough on imports
and protect domestic jobs.
"(We) will never allow foreign goods using unfair
competition against our products," Rousseff said on a
nationally televised address on the eve of Brazil's
"In the current crisis our main weapon is expanding and
defending our internal market," she said.
Economic growth is expected to slow to just under 4 percent
from 7.5 percent last year. But Rousseff said domestic consumer
demand was still strong, in part due to record employment and
Still, many Brazilian manufacturers have been losing market
share at home and abroad to foreign competitors.
Industry grew only 0.2 percent in the second quarter,
compared with overall economic growth of 0.8 percent from the
previous quarter [ID:nN1E7810AQ].
Industry leaders say Brazil's expensive currency and
Chinese export subsidies are at fault.
Finance Minister Guido Mantega said last week that Brazil
would fight back against any new round of quantitative easing
in the United States by taking fresh measures to protect its
The currency war could get worse, said Mantega, who coined
the term to describe how countries are weakening their
currencies to try to gain an upper hand in global trade and
stimulate their economies.
But a rising tax burden and low productivity at home are
equally to blame for the falling competitiveness of Latin
America's largest economy, analysts say.
The government also announced on Tuesday that it will apply
any new anti-dumping tariffs retroactively for 90 days to
prevent importers from stocking up on goods the government is
investigating over possible dumping charges.
Dumping occurs when a manufacturer sells goods abroad below
their production cost or domestic price.
During a visit to China earlier this year, Rousseff
clinched a series of trade and investment deals, partially
allaying rising discontent at home over relations with the
Asian giant. [ID:nN20167769]
(Additional reporting by Hugo Bachega and Jeferson Ribeiro;
Editing by Eric Walsh and Bill Trott)