Investigation of Steel’s Importance to National Security Has Potential to Reenergize Domestic Production

CONTACT: Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement after President Trump signed a memorandum calling for a Section 232 investigation of steel. A Section 232 investigation is prepared by the Department of Commerce in consultation with other agencies and examines the importance of the subject commodity to national security. If the Department of Commerce finds that the commodity is important to national security, the Secretary can recommend possible steps to advance U.S. security interests, including whether to adjust imports. After a study is prepared within 270 days, the President has up to 90 days to consider the Secretary’s recommendation and what steps, if any, to take.

“Steel is the backbone of our country, our infrastructure and our military. The President’s action today will reveal to policymakers in Washington what every American already knows: We must have a strong steel sector to be a strong country.   

“For decades, the U.S. steel industry has been undercut by trading partners who have stolen market share, production capacity and jobs through unfair and illegal acts. The USW and domestic producers have filed over 200 trade enforcement cases to protect our production, jobs, and our country. But one of the major flaws in our current trade enforcement system is that we have to lose market share and jobs first in order to restore fair trade. 

“China’s continuing overproduction of steel and other products is a particularly intractable problem that has defied solution, despite global efforts to force China to rein in its overcapacity.  This investigation, initiated by the Administration, should form the basis for taking comprehensive action to ensure that America has the steel it needs.

“America’s security depends not only on the quality of its weapons, but the critical infrastructure, logistical support and ability to respond in times of crisis. From our weapon systems to the rails and bridges that bring them to our ports, to the pipelines that deliver water and energy to our people, to the steel used in electrical transmission, steel is unquestionably vital to our nation’s security. There is no way that we can rely on other countries that cheat for our supplies.

“The success of this effort will depend on the scope of the inquiry and the recognition of how important the entire steel sector is to our security interests. This study, once completed, will give the President the justification to act to protect our national security, and to stop the predatory and protectionist imports from flooding our shores and decimating our productive capacity.

“It’s about time that action like this was initiated. Our trade laws are fundamentally broken and workers bear the brunt of the impact. If this approach does not work in addressing China’s overcapacity, its predatory practices and the impact of its policies and those of other countries on our market, radical action will be necessary.

“Congress should be a partner in advocating using existing tools, and creating new ones when necessary, to revitalize domestic manufacturing and promote job creation and retention.

“The strength of our country requires a robust steel sector from the mines to the mills. The ability to move goods to the men and women in uniform and throughout our country as well as to having a strong infrastructure demands a healthy domestic steel industry.

“It is the surest path to a strong and secure country.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

 

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Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

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