Steel industry fights for level playing field

Posted by LDonia on 10/31/2013

This morning at the International Trade Commission (ITC) both workers and corporate executives proudly stood together to fight for a level playing field against illegally traded steel products from China and other nations. They were joined by several members of the Indiana congressional delegation, including Senator Joe Donnelly, Congressman Pete Visclosky, and Congressman Todd Rokita.

Here is video of Congressman Visclosky just after he delivered his testimony to the ITC:

The issue before the ITC is to determine whether existing countervailing duty (CVD) and antidumping (AD) orders on hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from these countries should be maintained. This steel product is used in a variety of applications, including automobiles, rail cars, building construction, appliances, and machinery, as well as other steel products like oil country tubular goods used for energy purposes. Because it is used in so many products, hot-rolled steel is vital to the long-term health of the domestic steel industry.

The facts presented by the injured domestic petitioners and the Members of Congress demonstrate a vital need for the continuation of the AD/CVD orders in question:

  • Domestic producers of hot-rolled steel are still trying to recover from the economic crisis that began in late 2008. From 2007 to 2009, U.S. consumption of hot-rolled steel fell by 43.2 percent – and last year consumption still had not returned to 2007 levels.
  • At the same time, unfair trading practices abroad have resulted in massive volumes of capacity that cannot be justified in market terms. In fact, recent data indicate that the subject countries have almost 84 million net tons (NT) of unused capacity – a figure that exceeds total U.S. consumption of hot-rolled steel by over 20 million NT. Even a small percentage of this unused capacity could be used to ship a devastating volume of hot-rolled steel to the United States.

Of particular interest is the fact that many of the foreign mills have not even responded to the ITC's questionnaires for information – including no responses from China and several others. As such, it would be hard to imagine the ITC rewarding these producers by removing the orders in question.

The case being made for a level playing field for American workers extends throughout Congress. Leading into the hearing, letters were sent to the ITC representing both Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress:

  • October 30, 2013 – 19 Senators: Joe Donnelly (IN); Jeff Sessions (AL); John Boozman (AR); Sherrod Brown (OH); Richard Burr (NC); Robert Casey Jr. (PA); Dan Coats (IN); Richard Durbin (IL); Al Franken (MN); Lindsey Graham (SC); Kay Hagan (NC); Tom Harkin (IA); Amy Klobuchar (MN); Carl Levin (MI); Rob Portman (OH); Mark Pryor (AR); John D. Rockefeller IV (WV); Richard Shelby (AL); and Debbie Stabenow (MI).
  • September 30, 2013 – 6 GOP House Members: Tom Reed (NY); Mike Kelly (PA); James Renacci (OH); Aaron Schock (IL); Todd Young (IN); and Tim Griffin (AR).

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