The State of Steel: Tougher trade rules and more infrastructure spending, say industry and labor leaders

Posted by mmcmullan on 03/25/2014

What’s the State of Steel? That question packed a room on Capitol Hill this morning, as the House of Representatives’ Congressional Steel Caucus invited executives and labor leaders to discuss the condition of the American steel industry.

The topics covered faced both inward and outward. ArcelorMittal USA CEO Mike Rippey kept most of his comments in-house and went big, saying that while oft-debated infrastructure investment might be pricey, it’s an investment now that will pay off later:

The American people are already paying a hidden tax for inadequate infrastructure in the form of the lost jobs, less personal safety, and a decreasing quality of life. Americans lose 4.2 billion working hours per year due to traffic tie-ups. Who wouldn’t pay an extra 5 or 10 cents a gallon if it meant they could spend an extra hour a day with their family?

And Mario Longhi, president and CEO of U.S. Steel, talked trade and expressed concern with a recent Department of Commerce ruling that let South Korean steelmakers off the hook for flooding the American market with impossibly cheap product:

Rule-breaking, Mr. Chairman, is cheating. And trade based on deception can never be “fair” trade.

After the hearing, the Alliance for American Manufacturing caught up with Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers. Below, Gerard explains that all stages of the steelmaking process should occur in the United States to be considered “American made.” Unfortunately, there are efforts to undermine the Buy America laws on the books by companies whose business model relies on importing foreign-made steel slab. But when we make slab in the United States and use it for domestic infrastructure projects, says Gerard, we support more U.S. workers:

All in all, an illuminating morning on Capitol Hill.  But we've only dipped a toe into the topics that today's hearing covered. Luckily, the good people at the American Iron and Steel Institute have gathered all of the testimony presented to the Caucus at their website. And read more about the specifics of the trade case Mr. Longhi mentioned right here.

Related recent Blogs

@KeepitMadeinUSA on Twitter

  • RT @americanmademov: We had a private screening with @KeepitMadeinUSA in #DC on the tour last year. @SenAngusKing was in attendance! http… 14 min 28 sec ago
  • RT @julianarkerr: 75% of Boeing's planes are exported overseas but all manufactured in US. - Boeing rep speaking at HSBC #MadeforTrade @Chi 21 min 4 sec ago
  • RT @JeffBoniorAAM: Illinois economy hurting Chicago's manufacturing & exports. This great American city needs a manufacturing comeback. ht… 30 min 56 sec ago
  • What happens when we ignore our infrastructure? The #UCLAFlood: http://t.co/VxnL1imAcO 47 min 29 sec ago
  • Congress really needs to fix the Highway Trust Fund AND fund a long-term plan to fix our infrastructure: http://t.co/oyDTzFEODL ... 1 hour 52 min ago
  • ... after all, the #UCLAflood shows us what happens when we ignore our infrastructure. http://t.co/BvUJvkJHNJ 1 hour 52 min ago
  • MT @ScottPaulAAM Don't cheer 2Q GDP estimate yet: imports rose faster than exports, an unnecessary drag on growth. http://t.co/J7WUhVJxOT 5 hours 45 min ago
  • Missed the news last night? Here's a recap of the status of the legislation to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent: http://t.co/3fNnYwW5KI 6 hours 52 min ago
  • ICYMI: Senate passed its version of Highway Trust Fund bill; shortened length of extension to Dec. instead of May 2015. Heads back to House. 19 hours 11 min ago
  • The Senate is now debating legislation to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund (well, until May 2015). Watch on @cspan: http://t.co/7h65biQlFz 23 hours 3 min ago