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Brazil slaps anti-dumping tax on Chinese steel

* Tax on Chinese steel tubes used in oil industry

* Anti-dumping taxes to be applied retroactively

BRASILIA, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Brazil said on Tuesday that it will slap import tariffs on select Chinese steel products, the latest in a series of measures to defend struggling domestic manufacturers.

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 years.

The move is part of a broader effort by President Dilma Rousseff, who took office on Jan. 1, to get tough on imports, particularly those from China.

Her administration will also 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].

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.

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.

Reporting by Hugo Bachega; Writing by Raymond Colitt; Editing by Eric Walsh