U. S. Steel Chairman Thomas J. Usher Thanks President Bush
Calls Tariffs a Bold Step That Addresses Serious Injury to American Steel Industry
Thomas J. Usher, chairman of United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X), today thanked President Bush, "for taking a bold step to carry through on his promise to address the serious injury to the domestic steel industry caused by record levels of imported steel. My hat's off to the President for demonstrating strong leadership in taking this action today. It is not only important for the American steel industry, it is equally important for our economy and national security.
"We are pleased that the President will impose 30 percent tariffs on imports of flat-rolled finished carbon steel products. This is a victory for everyone who cares about the future of the steel industry in America, and could help set the stage for revitalization of the industry.
"While our NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico, and developing countries with small import levels are excluded from the tariffs on flat-rolled finished products, two-thirds of flat-rolled imports will be covered by the tariffs. In addition, the excluded developing countries will be subject to an anti-surge mechanism to ensure they do not substantially increase their shipments from historic levels. We commend the President for providing this measure to protect against circumvention of the remedy.
"We are also pleased that the President placed a limit on imported slabs. The 30 percent over-quota tariff provides what we believe can be an effective remedy. We intend to work with the Administration to ensure the tariff rate quota is properly enforced to prevent a surge in slab imports that could undermine the relief on finished products.
"U. S. Steel remains committed to working with the President on the other two parts of his steel initiative -- talks with America's trading partners to reduce worldwide excess capacity in steel, and negotiations to eliminate subsidies and market-distorting practices that lead to dumping of excess steel in our market.
"While the remedy does not provide all the breathing room we had hoped for, we believe that it -- along with a return to a robust economy, elimination of worldwide excess steelmaking capacity and retiree legacy cost relief -- could provide the impetus the American integrated steel industry needs to restructure.
"With respect to industry consolidation, retiree legacy costs continue to be a significant problem that needs to be addressed. As we have learned from the LTV bankruptcy, doing nothing about legacy costs creates chaos; devastates steelworkers, retirees and their families and communities; and makes it impossible to achieve the rational consolidation sought by the Administration. These hard-working Americans, through no fault of their own, find themselves without jobs and benefits. The eventual social costs to the government could well exceed the cost of the orderly consolidation program we proposed. We call on the government to support programs -- including expedited access to pension benefits through the PBGC and an appropriate level of continued health care -- that will create a safety net for these displaced Americans.
"With or without legacy relief, we will continue to pursue opportunities to reduce costs and to grow profitably both here and abroad. Those opportunities could come through the selective acquisition of facilities in the United States and expansion in other parts of the world, such as central Europe. As we've made clear in the past, we will only proceed with acquisitions if the results will benefit our customers, shareholders, creditors and employees."
SOURCE: United States Steel Corporation
Contact: John Armstrong, +1-412-433-6792, or Mike Dixon,
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