LORAIN, OH Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Northeast Ohio workers at a rally to call on the Obama Administration to protect Ohio steel manufacturers and the jobs they support. Outside of the U. S. Steel facility in Lorain, Brown and local steelworkers urged the Commerce Department (DOC) to crack down on countries that unfairly dump their steel in the U.S. market, threatening American jobs and competitiveness.

“Northeast Ohio’s steelmakers and workers can compete against anyone in the world—when given access to a level playing field,” Brown said. “But American producers are increasingly losing sales to foreign competitors like Korea because OCTG imports are being dumped into the U.S. market. Full enforcement of our trade laws is critical for the future of this industry and its workers.” 

Today’s rally came in advance of a major trade case DOC is hearing which involves Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG). Brown was joined by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) and Scott Paul, the President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), to call on DOC to level the playing field for American workers and businesses by leveling tariffs against Korean OCTG imports in its final ruling.

OCTG is used for domestic oil exploration—especially shale—and is produced by Ohio companies U. S. Steel in Lorain, Vallourec Star in Youngstown, and TMK IPSCO in Brookfield. Steel produced for the U.S. energy market, such as OCTG, accounts for approximately 10 percent of domestic steel production and nearly 8,000 American jobs in more than 22 states. U.S. producers, however, are increasingly losing sales to foreign competitors because imports of OCTG have doubled since 2008 and increased by 61 percent thus far in 2014 compared to 2013. By some accounts, OCTG imports represent 50 percent of the pipes used for gas and oil drilling in the United States.  

DOC is investigating the dumping of OCTG into the U.S. market from nine countries, including India, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam. In its preliminary ruling, DOC found that the imports of eight countries were dumped in American markets, resulting in duties of about three to 118 percent being levied on their OCTG imports. DOC failed, though, to identify Korea as dumping despite a majority of OCTG imports deriving from Korea. Because Korea has one of the world’s largest steel industries but no domestic OCTG market, its OCTG imports have recently increased by 40 percent and account for 20 percent of U.S. consumption. 

Also joining Brown to urge DOC to protect Northeast Ohio steel companies were Ohio State Senator Gayle Manning (13th District); Ohio State Representative Dan Ramos (56th District); John Wilkinson, U. S. Steel Plant Manager; and Dan Voorhees, President of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1104.

Brown continues to fight for Northeast Ohio’s workers and its steel and manufacturing industries. Described as “Congress’ leading proponent of American Manufacturing,” Brown is a member of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, currently Vice-Chair of the Senate Auto Caucus, and was recently named incoming Chair of the Senate Steel Caucus. In March 2014, Brown met with U. S. Steel President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mario Longhi to discuss the Korean OCTG case and efforts to help protect domestic steel producers.

In May 2013, Brown visited U. S. Steel’s Lorain Tubular Operations where he was joined by then U. S. Steel Chairman and CEO John P. Surma on a tour of the #6 Quench and Temper finishing line. The line represents a $100 million investment by U. S. Steel into Lorain Tubular Operations. Brown’s efforts were vital to ensuring U. S. Steel was provided necessary relief from Chinese steel pipe imports, and as a result, could maintain its facility in Lorain and expand its operations. During the visit, Surma praised Brown for his efforts on behalf of American manufacturers, saying that “Senator Brown is on our side. In fact we talk about him as our guy and the reason he’s our guy is because he’s one of us.” 

Last month, bipartisan manufacturing jobs legislation introduced by Brown and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) moved one step closer to becoming law. Brown-Blunt would establish a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and create thousands of high-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs while enhancing the United States’ role as the world’s leader in advanced manufacturing.