Kaptur testifies at U.S. Commerce hearing on steel imports and harmful illegal dumping
Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), today testified at a public hearing held by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding its investigation of steel imports and illegal dumping of steel which has devastated steel-making communities such as Lorain, OH in the district she represents with job loss and uncertainty. Kaptur was the only Member of Congress to testify at the hearing.
See the following key excerpts from Kaptur testimony (watch here at 16:12 mark):
“Lorain is a town that once employed 12,000 hard working men and women in the steel industry. Despite millions of dollars invested in Lorain steel modernization by the industry with wage, health, and pension benefit sacrifices by workers, hundreds more of the remaining steel jobs have been disappearing in the last two years.
“It feels as though the life of a vibrant community is being drained out. As imports flood into our marketplace, even coming through import portals like the Port of Cleveland, we cannot slow walk to a national response that cedes the future, to a rigged predatory set of practices by other nations that win market share by violating the rules.
“Through no fault of their own, workers lose their livelihoods to unfettered dumping on our market. The steady drip of victims lay across our communities drowned by steel from South Korea, China, Russia, India and Vietnam.
“U.S. workers now can produce a ton of finished steel in under one man-hour, a pace that makes their operations the most efficient in the world. So, if that is true, why has America’s steel been battered by the continued job washout?
“According to a 2016 report from Duke University, China alone produces 2300 million metric tons of steel, despite the fact only 1500 million metric tons are necessary to meet global demand. Are the rest of the world steel producing nations to be buried under heaps of Chinese dumped steel by an economy that is state-run? The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said in 2015 that China’s capacity alone exceeded the combined capacity of the U.S., the EU, Japan, and Russia. Additionally, tubular steel imports, the same type of steel made in Lorain, rose by 86 percent from 2016 to 2017. So there seems to be demand.
“According to Section 232, the Department of Commerce has 270 days to complete an investigation. I urge this Administration to expedite this artificial schedule and work as quickly as possible. I can guarantee you, the lives of Americans are at risk and Ohio steel workers and businesses simply do not have that long.”
Secretary Wilbur Ross responded to Kaptur stating that the investigation and report would be finished by June.
Watch here, Kaptur speaks at 16:12 mark
The Commerce Department initiated an investigation to determine the effects on the national security of imports of steel. This investigation has been initiated under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended.
Additionally, Kaptur urged the Commerce Department to execute on the following:
- Stop foreign dumping of steel on our market, beginning with tubular piping;
- Preserve modernized capacity so our nation can maintain our strategic industrial and defense bases;
- Develop bridge financing using the full Executive power of the Administration to secure modernized US steel production capacity, economic development and trade adjustment assistance to communities and workers harmed by dumping, and to neutralize the negative impact of the VAT tax;
- Prescribe immediate retaliatory means to halt circumvention by China, South Korea, Russia, India, Vietnam and any state-directed economy that continues to harm the US.