Washington, DC – The leaders of the Congressional Steel Caucus have sent a letter to President Trump that requested an outlook on his action to support and protect the American steel industry in response to the Section 232 investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce on the impact of foreign steel imports on U.S national security.
Specifically, Congressional Steel Caucus Co-Chairman Rick Crawford (R-AR), Co-Chairman Mike Bost (R-IL), and Vice-Chairman Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN), sent a letter to President Trump that requested a briefing on the Section 232 investigation report and asked for an outlook on the potential timeframe for action. According to the Department of Commerce, under current law, the President has until April 11, 2018, to decide on any potential action based on the findings of the investigation.
The letter stated that a strong a viable domestic steel industry is essential to America’s national security and that the American steel industry is threatened by repeated surges in steel imports driven by global over-capacity and other foreign trade-distorting subsidies, policies, and practices.
Co-Chairman Crawford stated, “When other countries break the trade agreements we’ve adopted, their actions undermine American businesses and the jobs those businesses support. Given the President’s commitment to rural communities and putting American interests first, I’m hopeful that he will take action that allows our nation’s steel industry to compete fairly.”
“American steel jobs are at risk due to global competitors who refuse to play by the rules,” said Co-Chairman Bost. “That’s why it’s vitally important for President Trump to take action to ensure U.S. companies and workers have the ability to compete on an even playing field. I have no doubt in my mind that the American steelworker is second to none when competing on equal footing.”
Vice-Chairman Visclosky stated, “American steelworkers are an essential contributor to the strength and viability of our national security and our national economy. I encourage President Trump to act with the utmost urgency and send a resounding message that the foundational equipment and strength of the American military must be built with American-made steel.”
The full text of the letter is available below.
Dear President Trump:
As Chairs of the Congressional Steel Caucus, we are writing regarding the recently delivered Section 232 investigation to address the national security implications of the continued surge of foreign steel imports into the United States and to seek a briefing on the report and the Administration’s potential timeline for action on its recommendations. Your attention to this matter is appreciated.
As you know, the domestic steel industry has been battered by a flood of imports, many of which are unfairly traded or are produced by subsidized state-owned enterprises in non-market economies, such as China, in quantities well in excess of global demand. These unfairly traded imports and the negative price effects of the excess global capacity of steel have led to the idling of a great deal of United States steel production and the direct and indirect loss of thousands of American jobs and economically harmed communities.
A strong and viable domestic steel industry is essential to America’s national security. In applications ranging from aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines to Patriot and Stinger missiles and armor plate for tanks to field artillery pieces, virtually every military platform is dependent on U.S.-produced steel. In addition, our nation’s critical infrastructure, including our bridges, roadways, waterways, rail, energy infrastructure, electric grid, and drilling equipment for energy production, relies on domestically-produced steel. The continued production of this steel has come under threat in recent years, in large part due to repeated surges in steel imports driven by the global over-capacity and other foreign trade-distorting subsidies, policies, and practices.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimated that last year global excess capacity totaled nearly 700 million metric tons, leading the OECD to say in a written statement that “excess capacity remains at alarmingly high levels.” This over-capacity has resulted in the loss of jobs for thousands of hard-working Americans in the domestic steel sector. We are gravely concerned due to the impact of this ongoing crisis and remain hopeful that you will take meaningful action.
In closing, we once again want to express our appreciation for your concerns about the economic welfare of the men and women of the United States steel industry and their contributions to our national security. We look forward to hearing from your administration on the Section 232 investigation.
Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)
Rep. Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN)