Canadian firm defends use of Indian steel for oil pipeline to US

April 9th, 2009 - 10:18 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 9 (IANS) A Canadian pipeline company has defended the use of India-made steel for an oil pipeline project in President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois after a protest rally by hundreds of steel workers.

TransCanada said Wednesday that it was necessary to look to India for a large share of the pipe that is being used for the project that will transport Canadian oil to the US as an idled Illinois steel mill couldn’t have supplied the pipe needed for it.

A TransCanada spokesman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the US companies will supply about 30 percent of the pipe for the project but contended that the US Steel plant in Granite City, Illinois, was unable to produce pipe to the necessary specifications.

The newspaper said around 500 protesters gathered outside the Granite City Works Tuesday to support “Buy American” policies at a rally organised by United Steel Workers near a lot where the India-made pipe for the project was being stored.

The protesters demanded that the ‘Buy American’ policy be also implemented for the 2,000-mile Canada-US oil pipeline that would bring crude oil from Alberta to the Wood River refinery complex.

The protest came after the board of the local county unanimously passed a resolution at its regular meeting declaring that federal funds be used to promote goods and services made or performed by American citizens and companies.

While there have been protests against the use of Chinese products in the US in the recent past, this is the first time that an Indian product has been targeted.

Protesters carried banners of ‘Buy American’ and ‘Rebuild American Manufacturing’ at the rally, held in the backdrop of a huge pile of steel pipes with ‘Made in India’ marks.

The protesters called for an overhaul of state policy that has led to the dismantling of industrial base of in America and the loss of millions of jobs.

The protests come hardly a week after the US joined the G-20 declaration to “name and shame” the countries resorting to protectionism.

In addition to India, TransCanada is using 11 other pipe suppliers, four from the US and two from Canada. The orders were made three years ago, when the US steel industry was near capacity and the world economy was growing.

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