China “Clamps Down” on Its Excess Steel. We Aren’t Holding Our Breath.

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Commerce Dept. will hold hearing on Section 232 investigation; more trade EOs may be coming.

Well, look at that.

Reuters reports that China has revoked the licenses of 29 Chinese steel firms, part of “its campaign to tackle overcapacity in the sector.” Most of the companies have already stopped making steel, but some had “illegally expanded production or violated state closure orders.”

Beijing also announced that 40 additional steel companies have been asked to make environmental protection and safety measures. One analyst said this might be part of an effort to gradually shutter inefficient mills rather than force closures.

All of this, of course, comes just four days after President Trump signed an executive order officially launching a Section 232 investigation into foreign steel imports. Led by the Commerce Department, that investigation will determine whether dumped steel imports pose a threat to national security — and could lead to tariffs or other action in response.

I know what you’re thinking —Trump’s action is already working!

 

Not so fast.

 

The one thing you need to remember about China is that it plays the long game.

For years now, the United States and other nations have been pressuring China to tackle its massive steel overcapacity. China knows it has a big problem, and has pledged to do something about it. Repeatedly.

And repeatedly, China has broken its promises and then pledged to do better.

China makes a massive amount of steel — its overcapacity in 2015 alone was 336 million metric tons. Seventy-five percent of the world’s new steel stock since 2000 has come from China. Revoking the licenses of a handful of companies, most of whom aren’t making steel anymore anyway, isn’t going to solve this global crisis anytime soon.

It's also worth noting that China Daily trotted out the usual talking points against U.S. action on Monday, including that this is a “bilateral and multilateral” problem and could lead to “retaliatory actions.” It’s the sort of response that we’ve heard from China before, part of an effort to distract everyone from its own responsibility.

And it’s been going on for years. Meanwhile, the global steel imports crisis worsens and China's steel output has even increased.

Will the Section 232 investigation be a gamechanger? Only time will tell, of course — but as AAM President Scott Paul noted last week, the investigation “sends a strong signal to Beijing that our government will pursue sensible trade actions that will push back against persistent unfair trade practices.”

There is movement in the investigation, by the way. Politico Pro reported that the Commerce Department will hold a hearing on May 24 as part of the investigation, and will accept written comments through May 31.

Meanwhile, Axios reports that the White House is looking at unveiling “as many as three additional executive orders this week” on trade issues, including a potential Section 232 investigation looking at aluminum imports.

***

Reposted from AAM.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

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