UNITED STATES American mills roll out a bevy of big guns and blast away

Sep 01, 2007 | 12:00 PM |

This summer, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) took some heat during a two-day hearing on whether to maintain import duties on, appropriately, hot-rolled steel. Thanks to a large turnout by lawmakers, it was the most action the ITC had seen since its marathon hearing last fall on whether to continue duties on corrosion-resistant steel, which resulted in one of the longest single-day hearings in ITC history.

The hearing that began July 31 was special because 26 lawmakers—ranging from well-known Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) and Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) to lesser-known politicians like Alabama's Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr.—appeared in support of the domestic industry. The hearing took place during one of the busiest weeks to date for the 110th Congress, underscoring the importance of the issue to lawmakers.

Seasoned trade lawyers said it was the largest contingent of lawmakers to appear before the ITC since the epic Section 201 hearings. But their testimony was repetitious, leaving some to wonder whether parading so many lawmakers might ultimately work against the domestic industry. Advocates for continuing the duty orders wondered whether having so many lawmakers speak was annoying the commissioners since they took up so much time.....

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