Illegally subsidized steel imports slamming like waves into our nation's ports are bad for American industry.

Nowhere is this more keenly felt than Northwest Indiana, which has evolved into the United States' key steel producing region but struggles to compete with an unfair glut of foreign steel.

It's also clear any threat to our steel industry is more than just a threat to our Region's economy. It also imperils national security by harming an industrial sector key to our ability to produce naval vessels and other material essential to our military defenses.

For all of these reasons, President Donald Trump should pay careful attention to a letter recently sent to him by our nation's leading steel producers.

Executives from 25 of those companies, including ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel, recently signed a letter encouraging Trump to "take broad and decisive action to ensure the ability of the domestic steel industry to supply our nation's defense and critical infrastructure needs."

Their plea is for federal leaders to use tariffs on foreign steel to battle against steel "dumping," the practice of flooding our markets with surplus steel from other nations.

China has been among the worst offenders in recent years, and our nation should be doing all it can to level the playing field for our own domestic companies — and national security interests.

Trump's administration is investigating the potential impact on national security, and we commend that.

But the president and his advisers should take care not to soften how they approach this issue.

Steel imports have caused thousands of steelworker layoffs, including Region jobs, in recent years. Despite previous tariffs, imports are up 22 percent so far this year and have a near-record U.S. market share.

The president campaigned on the need to preserve steelworker jobs. It's now time to act.