20090727 us china flags 84052957 18
Chinese and American flags wave side by side outside Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York - 


Steve Chiotakis: Last fall, the Obama administration created a big stir by imposing high tariffs on Chinese tires. Well get ready for more trade drama: in the coming days, the administration could impose big tariffs on steel pipe from China, a sign the U.S. is ready to take China to the mat. Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports.

Alisa Roth: China sold more than a billion dollars worth of steel pipes to American companies last year. But the government says a lot of those pipes, which are used in oil and gas wells, were sold for less than fair value. That's called dumping, and it hurts American steel producers.

William Overholt is a research fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He says the U.S. government's been criticized for being soft on China's currency issues. But this -- and the tire tariffs last fall -- show it's playing tough on trade.

William Overholt: So I don't think there's any question about the Obama administration to take on China.

In response to the dumping, the U.S. government is imposing big tariffs on steel pipes. They could be as high as 99 percent. Overholt says using taxes like this shouldn't be done lightly. Tariffs like these, and the ones we imposed on tires last year, can have serious consequences for entire regions.

I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.