UNITED STATES Off to a running start, steel lobbyists are upbeat on ‘08

Jan 01, 2008 | 01:07 PM |

It would be easy to write off 2007 as an unproductive year for the steel industry's legislative agenda, given that it never got its trade law bill introduced while an emissions cap-and-trade bill it hates is gaining steam.

But steel industry lobbyists aren't hanging their heads. To the contrary, most are pleased with the progress they made in 2007 and are positively upbeat in their outlook for 2008.

"We're very optimistic about (2008)," one top industry lobbyist said. "Much progress was made in building support for our trade agenda. There has been recognition on the part of new members and senior members of Congress on the need to address China. We feel very good about the goodwill we've built (in 2007) and the prospect of moving the ball forward (in 2008)."

Trade policy remains the overriding issue for the steel community. It's also the area in which most steel industry lobbyists feel they made the most progress in 2007. Capitol Hill insiders have been waiting patiently for Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D., N.Y.), chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Sander Levin (D., Mich.), chairman of the subcommittee on trade, to introduce a trade enforcement bill. So far nothing. But expectations are for change in 2008. If and when it is introduced, the bill is expected to include several components favored by the steel industry, including a statutory change clarifying that countervailing duties can be applied to non-market economies like China and a guarantee that the United States can continue to use zeroing when calculating anti-dumping duties.....

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