YOUNGSTOWN, OH—Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded the dedication of Vallourec Star’s new seamless pipe mill in Youngstown. Brown’s efforts were vital to ensuring Vallourec Star was provided necessary relief from Chinese steel pipe imports, and as a result, played a critical role in the company’s decision to build a new, $1 billion seamless pipe mill, bringing an estimated 350 jobs to the Mahoning Valley.
“Today’s dedication is great news for the Mahoning Valley and a testament to the strength of Ohio’s manufacturing base,” Brown said. “We know our workers can compete against anyone in the world when they are on a level playing field. That’s why we must continue to fight illegal Chinese steel pipe imports so companies like Vallourec Star can stay and grow in Ohio. Our state is adding manufacturing jobs for the first time since the 1990s and Vallourec Star and the Valley’s hard working men and women are a major reason why.”
In September 2010 and December 2009, Brown testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of Ohio steel workers, including those at Vallourec Star and Wheatland Tube in Warren. The ITC’s ruling in the December 2009 case led to a border measure on imports to support these domestic producers of steel pipe. By addressing illegal Chinese trade practices, this decision helped increase demand for domestic production. Along with Vallourec Star, other steel companies in Northeast Ohio have recently expanded, including Wheatland Tube, TMK IPSCO in Brookfield, and U. S. Steel in Lorain.
Vallourec Star has committed more than $1 billion in investments to Ohio, in part to be in close proximity to the developing Marcellus and Utica shale regions. The company has also benefited from strong trade enforcement and a $20 million award from the Recovery Act, which Brown supported. Brown was unable to attend the dedication today in Youngstown, but was represented by his Northeast Ohio Regional Representative. Also attending the event were Joel Mastervich, Chief Operating Office and President, Vallourec Star; Skip Herald, Managing Director, Vallourec Star OCTG North America; and Philippe Crouzet, Chairman, Vallourec Star Management Board.
Brown has long fought to ensure Vallourec Star’s competitiveness in the international market by protecting it from countries like China that commit unfair and illegal trade practices. Following new figures that show a 34 percent jump over last month’s U.S.-China trade deficit, Brown announced last week that he is introducing the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013, bipartisan legislation that would reform and enhance oversight of currency exchange rates. Specifically, the bill would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to U.S. manufacturers caused by currency manipulation, and provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment. Brown’s introduction came in advance of last week’s talks between President Obama and Chinese President Xi.
Last week, Brown also applauded the U.S. Commerce Department’s (DOC) preliminary ruling on a petition in favor of defending Ohio companies like Vallourec Star from illegally traded steel pipe by ensuring antidumping duties (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) continue to be levied on illegally subsidized and intentionally undersold Chinese steel pipe imports. The announcement followed efforts by Brown to urge the DOC to protect companies operating in Ohio like Vallourec Star, Wheatland Tube Company, U. S. Steel, and TMK IPSCO from unfair and illegal Chinese trade practices. OCTG are used for domestic oil exploration, particularly in the shale industry, and are produced in Ohio by the aforementioned companies.
Last month, Brown urged the DOC to protect companies operating in Ohio like Vallourec Star from illegal Chinese trade practices by maintaining AD and CVD on Chinese steel pipe imports.
In July 2012, Brown nominated Doug Polk, vice president for industry affairs at Vallourec Star, to join job creators from around the U.S. to testify before the Senate Democratic Steering Committee on a hearing regarding American-made products.