Defending Against Unfair Trade Practices Key to Fair Competition

Arkansas’ First District is one of the nation’s leading producers of steel products, notably high-strength pipe used in the energy industry, or “Oil Country Tubular Goods” (OCTG). Unfortunately, when foreign manufacturers flood our markets with unfairly priced products, a practice called “dumping,” it is Arkansas that often feels a disproportionate amount of pain. This unfair trade practice is now threatening jobs here at home. Manufacturers of OCTG products in Blytheville and Hickman, including Tenaris/Maverick, JMC Steel and TMK-IPSCO, have come under attack from foreign companies based in countries like Vietnam. The high-skilled and well-paying jobs these companies produce are critically important to Arkansas as well as to the rest of the country.

The United States has laws against dumping to ensure a level playing field for both American and foreign businesses that choose to compete in our marketplace. The International Trade Commission (ITC) is the independent branch of the U.S. government charged with enforcing our trade laws against unfair trade practices that skew the playing field and threaten jobs here at home. As the economy continues to recover, we must remain vigilant to ensure other countries are not utilizing unfair trade practices that skew the playing field and put domestic jobs at risk.

That’s why I appeared before the ITC last week, testifying about the importance of these manufacturing jobs to our state, and the need for the U.S. government to fully and fairly enforce our trade laws. Arkansans are not asking for an unfair advantage or to be insulated from competition. We are simply asking for a level playing field where our workers, among the most efficient and best trained in the world, can compete on quality in a marketplace free of price manipulation. I am confident that after a full review of the facts, the Commission will agree to allow this investigation to go forward and determine the level of duties that are necessary to ensure fair competition for our workers, families and communities.

In America we play by the rules and are held accountable for our actions. We are not afraid to compete, nor will we allow our laws to be used against us. We should act to make sure important jobs like those in Blytheville and Hickman are not in danger. I look forward to using every avenue in my power to work with these businesses and enforce the laws we have on the books.

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