ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor complex

A loading process utilizes mammoth equipment at the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor complex in East Chicago.

Congressman Pete Visclosky and the Congressional Steel Caucus are pressing for another round of steel tariffs, this time on carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate from 12 countries.

ArcelorMittal USA, Nucor Corp. and SSAB Enterprises are asking for tariffs against imports from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, and Turkey. Those countries sent nearly $700 million tons of cut-to-length plate to the United States last year.

“We encourage the Department of Commerce to ensure that foreign competitors’ unfair trade practices do not continue to injure an already weakened industry,” Visclosky, Congressman Tim Murphy and the Congressional Steel Caucus wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “While the American steel industry recently obtained much-needed trade relief on imports of corrosion-resistant, cold-rolled, and hot-rolled steel, U.S. steel producers continue to suffer from an onslaught of imports, including of carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate.”

It’s one of more than half a dozen trade cases U.S. steelmakers have filed against foreign competitors over the last two years. In this instance, ArcelorMittal USA and other domestic steelmakers are asking for tariffs of up to 179.2 percent to offset dumping, or selling products for less than they cost to make in order to gain long-term market share.

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The United Steelworkers union says nearly 19,000 steelworkers and iron ore miners have been laid off since the start of the import crisis last year, the worst since companies like LTV and Bethlehem Steel went bankrupt in the early 2000s.

Visclosky and Murphy in their letter reminded the Commerce Department that Congress has worked to give the department new tools to evaluate trade remedy cases, including enhanced discretion to apply adverse facts where companies or governments fail to cooperate

“It is critical that Commerce utilize these tools in calculating the appropriate level of duties in the ongoing CTL plate investigations,” they stated in the letter. “On behalf of the domestic CTL plate industry and the workers and families who depend on the full and fair enforcement of our trade laws, we ask you to give careful consideration to their arguments in your upcoming preliminary determinations.”


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.