Can you imagine the United States without a thriving steel industry? For decades, American steel has played a vital role in the health of our nation’s economy and national security.
But American steel companies have hit hard times in the past decade because of the unfair “dumping” of Chinese steel into the U.S. market. China has an enormous overcapacity of steel products that are now being used to infiltrate countries around the world. China’s domestic use of its steel has dropped precipitously but the government-funded steel companies continue to produce massive amounts of steel to - among many reasons - keep its workforce in place. Chinese steel is sold in America at below market price making it nearly impossible for U.S. steelmakers to compete.
And United Steelworkers are suffering from what is passed off as “free trade.” In 2015, approximately 13,500 American steelworkers were laid off and many major steel mills were idled or permanently ceased operations. American steel companies have been fighting back with a constant series of trade cases filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In today’s worsening situation, America’s steelmakers are attacking with gusto and decision makers in Washington, D.C. are taking notice. A large number of members of congress have joined the fight, drafting legislation to protect America’s steel industry, appealing to President Obama and raising awareness of the importance of American-made steel.
On May 17, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce recommended tariffs as high as 522 percent on Chinese cold-rolled steel that is used in automobiles and appliances. China had promised to reduce its steel production but you can add this to the list of broken Chinese promises. China exported a record 112 million tons of steel in 2015. U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal and many other domestic steelmakers who filed this trade case in 2015, have several other cases being investigated by the International Trade Commission, including complaints on hot rolled steel and corrosion-resistant steel.
In 2004, China controlled 28.3 percent of the global steel market. Today, China supplies at least 50 percent of the world with its cheap, subsidized products.
U.S. Steel. with support from USW International President Leo W. Gerard, has asked the federal government to ban all Chinese steel products from entering the U.S.
At this critical stage, America needs to take the most drastic measures it can to preserve the U.S. Steel industry and the well-paying jobs of its workers.
Go to www.americanmanufacturing.com and click on “An Unprecedented Threat” to take action and let your voice be heard. You can also contact your members of congress at their local offices or call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representative by name and you will be connected to their office.
Jeff Bonior, AAM staff writer, Alliance for American Manufacturing