WARREN, OH —Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) convened a roundtable with northeast Ohio steelworkers at the USW Local 1375 Union Hall in Warren to hear from Ohio workers about unfair trade practices that have contributed to an enormous oversupply of steel production capacity and harmed Ohio workers. Brown and Ryan sought feedback as they look to work with President Trump on rolling back policies that have forced thousands of America’s steelworkers out of jobs and have compelled Ohio steel mills to idle or close.
Last week, the Trump Administration announced that the Commerce Department will launch an investigation into the impact of certain steel imports on national security, which Brown responded to with a statement. Immediately after President Trump’s election, Brown reached out to his transition team to offer his help on retooling U.S. trade policy. Brown wrote to Trump in November offering specific steps to work together on trade and Trump responded with a handwritten note.
“I’ve always stood up to Presidents of both parties to fight for better trade deals for Ohio,” said Brown. “And I’m going to hold this administration’s trade agenda to the same standard I’ve always used, no matter who was in the White House: does it put Ohio workers first? I’m ready to work with President Trump to deliver on his promises, or to hold him accountable if he doesn’t.”
“Hardworking Americans are not concerned with political gamesmanship – they want results. Unfortunately unfair trade practices have hurt communities in Northeast Ohio and across the United States for decades. President Trump spoke at length about these inequities during the campaign, promising immediate action to level the playing field if elected. I will fight to ensure that President Trump keeps his word and that any future trade deals meet the high standards our workers deserve – just like I’ve done throughout my career,” said Ryan.
Brown authored the Leveling the Playing Field Act, which he worked with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to pass into law in 2015, in order to give Ohio companies more tools when fighting unfair trade practices by China and other countries.
This month, Ryan introduced the Currency Reform For Fair Trade Act, which takes aim at currency manipulators by enabling the Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties to offset the impact of currency manipulation on a U.S. industry. Currency manipulation is costing America jobs and this legislation provides the tools necessary to hold countries accountable for their illegal actions.
In March, Brown met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to discuss how they can work together and with President Trump to negotiate better trade deals for Ohio workers and boost Ohio’s steel industry. In the meeting, Brown raised several of his priorities for working with the Commerce Department, including addressing steel overcapacity, currency manipulation, and maintaining China’s nonmarket economy status.
Brown also joined Portman and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9) to invite Ross to visit Lorain to meet with steelworkers and steel companies to see the impact of unfair trade on Ohio’s manufacturing sector. Ross committed to visit Lorain in separate meetings with Brown and Kaptur.
Brown has worked to support the U.S. aluminum extrusions industry, which has been harmed by unfair trade practices in the Chinese aluminum sector. Brown has written to the Commerce Department under Administrations of both parties to crack down on Chinese aluminum extruders’ circumvention efforts. Brown also pushed the Obama Administration to bring a World Trade Organization against China for its aluminum sector subsidies. The Obama Administration filed a case against China in January.
Brown and Ryan were joined by workers from several Mahoning Valley steelworkers unions.
Earlier this month, Brown and Portman applauded Commerce Department action against unfair oil country tubular good (OCTG) imports from Korea that affected American OCTG producers including Vallourec Star in Youngstown and Wheatland Tube in Warren. Following Brown and Portman’s urging, Commerce found that Korean steel producers have been unfairly dumping this imports into the U.S. market, leaving Ohio steelworkers and steel companies at a competitive disadvantage.