Brown, Portman Ask President to Prioritize Reducing Steel Overcapacity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of the Global Steel Forum, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) asked the President to prioritize reducing steel overcapacity. The Senators also urged the Administration to take swift action on the 232 investigation, which has been pending for months.

“Until net steel capacity in China and other countries is reduced, unfairly traded steel imports will continue to flood into the U.S. and domestic steel companies and American steelworkers will be at risk for more layoffs and idled facilities,” said the Senators in their letter.

Brown and Portman have teamed up to take on unfair foreign trade to boost the steel industry. In September, the Senators wrote Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging a decision on the 232 investigation.

Brown’s legislation, the Leveling the Playing Field Act, cosponsored by Portman and signed into law in June 2015, has restored strength to antidumping and countervailing duty statutes that allow businesses and workers in the United States to petition the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission (ITC) when foreign producers, including China, sell goods in the U.S. below market price or receive illegal subsidies. The law led to key wins for Ohio steel companies in major trade cases last year on cold-rolled, hot-rolled, and corrosion-resistant steel, including U.S. Steel, Nucor, ArcelorMittal, and AK Steel, which together employ more than 8,200 Ohio workers.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Todd Young (R-IN) also signed the letter.

Full text of the letter is below and available here.

November 28, 2017

 

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump:

We write in advance of the upcoming Global Steel Forum meeting to underscore the importance of addressing global steel overcapacity to the U.S. steel industry and its workers.  Until net steel capacity in China and other countries is reduced, unfairly traded steel imports will continue to flood into the U.S. and domestic steel companies and American steelworkers will be at risk for more layoffs and idled facilities.  

The Forum presents an opportunity for this Administration to meet with our trading partners at very high-levels and discuss the solutions, including enforcement actions, needed to respond to global steel market distortions.  In addition, the meeting will allow the U.S. to continue building support among other countries whose steelworkers and producers are similarly facing the consequences of the worldwide steel excess.  We know diplomacy alone will not convince countries, particularly China, to permanently reduce steel production capacity.  But it is critical that we continue to grow and maintain a coalition of our trading partners who agree this is a top global economic priority and who will commit to taking meaningful action to address it. 

International negotiations to reduce steel capacity are unlikely to produce real results without trade enforcement actions that address its underlying causes.  Therefore, we urge your Administration to develop a comprehensive enforcement plan to address the global steel crisis.  Most immediately, we urge you to reach a swift conclusion in the Section 232 investigation into steel imports.  We appreciate your Administration’s recent reaffirmation of China’s nonmarket economy status, and we applaud the recent strong preliminary determinations in steel-related trade cases.  Steel overcapacity, however, cannot be resolved with only these short-term solutions.  We believe a long-term enforcement approach is the only way to obtain the relief American steel industry and its steelworkers need.

Thank you for your consideration of this letter.  We look forward to working with you to prioritize the global steel overcapacity problem and to ensure American steel companies and steelworkers are able to compete on a level playing field.

Sincerely,

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