WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today welcomed comments made by President Donald Trump that he will act next week to crack down on unfair steel imports that have hurt the U.S. steel sector. Trump’s comments came today in a meeting with steel company executives. The expected action is the result of the Administration’s “232” investigation into the impact of steel imports on national security, and follows months of Brown’s repeated calls to Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to provide relief for the U.S. steel industry. Last month, Brown joined Trump and Ross at a meeting at the White House on steel, and urged action in the case.
Brown, who has built a strong relationship with the Administration’s top trade officials, applauded the news that Trump will next week impose a 25 percent tariff on steel. The President said he would sign the order next week.
“This welcome action is long overdue for shuttered steel plants across Ohio and steelworkers who live in fear that their jobs will be the next victims of Chinese cheating. President Trump must follow through on his commitment today to save American steel jobs and stop Chinese steel overcapacity from continuing to infect global markets,” said Brown. “If we fail to stand up for steel jobs today, China will come after other jobs up and down the supply chain tomorrow.”
Brown applauded the Administration’s decision to launch the investigation last year, and has since called on the Administration to make a determination in the case for several months, including in joint letters from Brown and his colleague, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
Immediately after President Trump’s election, Brown reached out to his transition team to offer his help in retooling U.S. trade policy. Brown wrote to Trump in November 2016 offering specific steps to work together on trade and Trump responded with a handwritten note. Brown has called on Administrations of both parties to help reduce China’s steel overcapacity, which leaves U.S. steelworkers and companies at a competitive disadvantage.
Brown has worked to boost the U.S. steel industry. 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.