A new administration, an urgent call to arms from steel

Jan 01, 2009 | 07:00 AM |

As we move into 2009 with a new administration and a new Congress, the steel industry will be aggressive in its efforts to advance a pro-manufacturing agenda. The domestic steel industry looks forward to working with Barack Obama's administration and members of the 111th Congress in order to advance this agenda, which we believe will strengthen the economy and benefit all Americans.

The steel industry, a fundamental component of the U.S. manufacturing sector, generates 1.2 million jobs and contributes $350 billion a year to the economy. To keep this engine revved, however, the U.S. must support trade, climate, energy and transportation policies that bolster America's competitiveness in the global marketplace as well as policies which strengthen and secure America's infrastructure.

Trade legislation

Trade remains an important legislative issue for the domestic steel industry. The U.S. manufacturing sector is still a vital national economic and strategic asset, and one that can thrive only if there is a level playing field that allows American companies the opportunity to compete in the global marketplace. Unfortunately, however, U.S. industry continues to bear the brunt of unfair trade practices that violate World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and U.S. trade laws.

A good example in the global arena is the Chinese government's subsidization of its domestic steel industry ($52 billion over the past 10 years), which has led to excess capacity, an artificial undervaluation of its currency and lax environmental standards, to point out just the top of the list of practices distorting the international steel market. More manufacturing jobs, specifically steel jobs, are going to be shipped overseas unless the new administration takes a strong stand in favor of enforcing current trade laws. ....

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