Steel Industry Condemns Unjust ITC Ruling; Decision Ignores Facts and Law
The following was issued today by United States Steel Corporation and Bethlehem Steel Corporation:
Despite clear evidence of severe injury to the U.S. steel industry caused by unfair foreign competition, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today denied relief to domestic producers, voting 4 to 1 that the domestic cold-rolled carbon steel industry was not materially injured from unfair foreign imports from five countries.
"This vote occurred even though the Commerce Department found enormous dumping margins of up to 154 percent and subsidy rates as high as 13 percent on imports from 20 countries," said Thomas J. Usher, Chairman and CEO of United States Steel Corporation. "The result of this ruling is that American business, American steel, and tens of thousands of workers will continue to be injured by illegal foreign trade."
The ITC itself unanimously found last October that imports were the most important cause of injury to the domestic flat rolled steel industry, including cold-rolled steel.
"This determination is flatly at odds with President Bush's steel program and the law," said Robert S. Miller, Chairman and CEO of Bethlehem Steel. "This ruling will encourage further unfair trading practices that have severely damaged the U.S. steel industry and American workers. Effective enforcement of our trade laws has to be the cornerstone of addressing the world steel crisis. This determination moves the nation backwards, not forward towards a free trading future."
During the period of investigation, imports from the 20 countries under investigation increased by 54 percent from 2000 to 2001, exceeding 2.3 million tons in 2001. Unfairly traded imports dramatically undersold domestic cold- rolled steel, leading to one of the most severe financial crises in the industry's history.
For years, government subsidized foreign steel makers have distorted the U.S. market with huge excess capacity that forced prices to all-time lows and threatened the very existence of the U.S. steel industry. The impact on the American steel industry has been so dramatic that President Bush took emergency safeguard action in March to help save the industry and allow it to invest, restructure and consolidate.
As a result of this action, foreign importers and producers have mounted an extensive misinformation campaign designed to create a misperception surrounding steel price restoration. This campaign leaves a false impression that American steel consumers are suffering greatly and that steel imports are not harming the U.S. economy.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The bottom line on steel is that foreign governments have propped up and subsidized their steel industries for years and created an enormous excess capacity worldwide that has been dumped on the U.S. market causing massive job loss, artificially depressed prices and causing steel company after steel company to declare bankruptcy.
"Today's vote at the ITC is a reflection of the myth that steel tariffs are misplaced protectionism instead of justified relief from illegal foreign trade," continued Usher. "This disinformation campaign, funded by foreign interests, would have us believe that steel tariffs work against the national interest when just the opposite is true."
SOURCE: United States Steel Corporation; Bethlehem Steel Corporation
CONTACT: Media: Michael R. Dixon or D. John Armstrong, +1-412-433-6870,
Web site: http://www.ussteel.com/
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