WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) urging support for U.S. steel reinforcing bar (rebar) producers like Marion’s Nucor Steel and Cincinnati’s Byer Steel Group. Along with a bipartisan group of 23 U.S. Senators, Brown urged ITC Chairman Meredith Broadbent to utilize the Commission’s authority to ensure foreign subsidies and product dumping do not cause additional harm to domestic producers.
“As American manufacturing continues its steady comeback, it is critical that we fully enforce our trade laws to ensure that American companies compete on a level playing field,” Brown said. “That is why I joined a bipartisan group of 23 Senators in urging the International Trade Commission to utilize its authority to ensure U.S. companies – like Marion’s Nucor Steel and Cincinnati’s Buyers Steel – are not further harmed by foreign competitors dumping product into domestic markets.”
Last week the U.S. Department of Commerce made a final determination on the dumping and subsidy margins for rebar. In their decision, Commerce found that Mexican producers were dumping and that Turkish producers were subsidized the import of rebar into U.S. markets. However, Commerce failed to find any violations against Turkish rebar companies for dumping. In April, Brown and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) joined a bipartisan group of 31 U.S. Senators in a letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker urging the Department to continue to investigate illegal dumping and subsidies on unfairly traded imports of rebar from Turkey and Mexico.
The full text of the letter is below.
The Honorable Meredith Broadbent
U.S. International Trade Commission
500 E Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20436
Dear Chairman Broadbent:
We are writing to express support for the U.S. steel reinforcing bar (“rebar”) producers and their workers, and to encourage the International Trade Commission to ensure that foreign subsidies and dumping are prevented from causing additional injury to an already weakened industry.
As the Commission is aware, rebar is used primarily by the construction industry to strengthen concrete structures and is an essential component of American infrastructure. The domestic industry should be benefitting from the modest recovery in construction demand in the wake of the recession. Instead, the industry has faced a continuous onslaught of unfairly traded imports which has had a negative impact on rebar producers and their families.
Since 2010, these imports have flooded the U.S. market at the direct expense of U.S. producers, who have seen their share of the market drop dramatically. Capacity utilization rates are at historically low levels – near 60 percent – and production levels have yet to recover from the recession. Profitability has collapsed and returns on investment have been inadequate. Indeed, conditions have deteriorated to such an extent that some U.S. producers have been forced to close production, while others have had to lay off workers, slash hours, and cut pay to stay afloat.
The U.S. rebar industry is a major segment of the U.S. steel industry with over seven million tons of production a year. The industry employs thousands of direct rebar workers in several dozen states, and supports tens of thousands of additional jobs throughout the country. These jobs are in jeopardy.
On behalf of the U.S. rebar industry and the workers and their families who depend on the full and fair enforcement of our trade laws for their survival, we urge you to give careful consideration to their arguments regarding investigations involving Turkey and Mexico. It is essential that foreign subsidies and dumping be addressed in order to prevent further harm to the U.S. rebar industry and the unwarranted loss of American jobs.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of this critical issue.