The US has imposed anti-dumping duties of up to 51 per cent on Chinese steel pipe enterprises, the US Commerce Department said yesterday. The move will add to the trade frictions between Beijing and Washington, which have intensified over the past year amid a wave of recalls of tainted food, poisonous toys and other unsafe products. 'The Chinese government has already anticipated this move by the US,' said Yi Xian-rong, a researcher at the Institute of Finance and Banking. 'With an increasing focus on eco-friendly industry, those anti-dumping actions against steel companies in China will tend to be minimal,' he said, referring to central government efforts last year to curb steel export growth to reduce energy consumption and cut pollution. The US Commerce Department said steel pipes imported from China were sold at unfairly low prices and undermined the interests of US steelmakers. 'We decided to act in accordance with the trade compensation law to ensure fair relations with our trading partners,' it said yesterday. In June last year, six US makers of welded standard steel pipes and the United Steelworkers union asked the Commerce Department to impose anti-dumping duties of up to 88 per cent and extra countervailing charges on steel pipes from China. The department made a preliminary decision a month later that Chinese steel pipes were damaging US companies and it would impose a duty of between 25 and 51 per cent on the imported pipes. Chinese exports of steel products rose 77.7 per cent year on year to 57.86 million tonnes from January to November last year. Growth had been running at 90 per cent in the first six months of the year, but slowed after Beijing's efforts to curb steel export growth. Despite efforts by Beijing to tame runaway growth, the mainland's trade surplus snowballed to a new peak of US$238.13 billion in the first 11 months last year, surpassing 2006's 12-month total of US$177.5 billion.