Legislators push to extend duties on foreign steel

2013-01-10T16:00:00Z 2013-01-10T20:29:09Z Legislators push to extend duties on foreign steelBowdeya Tweh bowdeya.tweh@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com
January 10, 2013 4:00 pm  • 

Members of the Congressional Steel Caucus are pushing for a U.S. trade panel to extend duties on corrosion-resistant steel from Germany and South Korea to avoid an import surge.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, was among 21 legislators who signed a letter Wednesday petitioning the International Trade Commission to not let existing duties on products from the two countries to expire. The letter argued that if the duties expired, it would cause significant harm because firms would dump steel into the American market as the European economy remains weak and mills in China are creating stiff competition in Asia.

The International Trade Commission held a five-year review hearing Wednesday on antidumping and countervailing duty orders on corrosion-resistant steel from Germany and South Korea.

“We must fight for every single American job in this economy,” said Visclosky, who is also vice chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, in a news release. “By showing zero tolerance for illegal trade practices, we will give our manufacturers the ability to compete in the global marketplace and protect good-paying jobs, which will put the economy of Northwest Indiana and the nation as a whole on the road to a secure, prosperous and bright future.”

The Department of Commerce determined that allowing these orders to expire would lead to an import surge of government-subsidized German and South Korean corrosion-resistant steel, which is used in automobiles, appliances and construction. Corrosion-resistant steel – sometimes referred to as coated sheet – consists of flat-rolled steel products coated with corrosion-resistant metals such as zinc or aluminum.

ArcelorMittal USA LLC, Steel Dynamics Inc., AK Steel Corp., Nucor Corp., United States Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers had representatives speak on their behalf in support of continuing the duties at Wednesday's ITC hearing. ThyssenKrupp, Dongbu Steel, Hyundai HYSCO, POSCO, POSCO C&C and Union Steel had representatives speak against extending the duties at the hearing.

The Congressional Steel Caucus is a bipartisan group of lawmakers who are concerned about the health of the American steel industry and say they want it to compete on a level global playing field.  

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