American Integrated Steel Producers Commend the ITC on Steel Injury Investigation, But Say Stronger Remedies Essential
Industry Members Will Urge Bush Administration To Support Strong and Comprehensive Import Relief
Bethlehem Steel Corporation (NYSE: BS), LTV Steel Company, Inc., National Steel Corporation (NYSE: NS) and United States Steel LLC (NYSE: X) today issued the following:
The International Trade Commission (ITC) today again confirmed the seriousness of the injury to American steel producers caused by the flood of low-priced foreign imports in recent years. The overwhelming majority of the Commissioners recognized that substantial tariffs of 20% to 40% must be imposed to address the critical steel import problem. The domestic industry urges the President to adopt the recommendations of the majority of the Republican members of the Commissioners who recommended 40% tariff levels. Imposition of a fully effective remedy is essential to the President's Steel Program announced earlier this year.
Today's vote by the ITC concludes the second phase of its investigation under Section 201 of the U.S. trade laws. The ITC completed the first phase of review in October when, after weeks of testimony and extensive and rigorous review of technical and economic data, the independent, bipartisan panel unanimously found that American flat-rolled steel producers are being seriously injured by low-priced foreign imports.
"The industry welcomes the ITC's recognition that tariff-based remedies are necessary at this time," said Thomas J. Usher, Chairman and CEO of USX Corporation. "However, in these market conditions, 20% tariffs are inadequate to redress the serious injury caused by foreign imports. We urge the President to act quickly to adopt 40% tariffs on all flat-rolled imports, including slabs. That is the only remedy that will give America's steel industry the chance to restructure and recover from years of excessive low- priced imports."
The ITC will forward its recommendations with explanations to the President by Dec. 19. The President will then have up to 60 days to review the ITC's report and determine what course of action to take.
"President Bush correctly recognized that bold steps are necessary to address the crisis gripping America's steel industry," said Robert S. Miller, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Bethlehem Steel Corporation. "The ITC's decision in October and again today support the President's position and underscore the urgency with which the government must now move forward to correct the situation. We urge the President to act promptly and forcefully."
The Commission's failure to recommend a meaningful remedy with respect to slab products undermines relief for the steel industry and the President's steel program. Slab production is the first step for all flat-rolled steel production and it is where most of the capital investment and innovation occurs. To be effective, relief must cover all the major steel product lines. Granting relief on some products but not others will simply encourage the shifting of foreign capacity to the products exempted from import relief, without significantly reducing the excess capacity that is the cause of the current crisis. Partial relief will therefore not address the structural problems of the global steel market.
The implementation of the strongest possible trade remedies by the President will further the remaining components of the Administration's Steel Program. In June, the President laid out a comprehensive three-part strategy to address the cumulative effect of 50 years of foreign subsidization and unfair trade practices. The ITC investigation is one element of his steel plan. The other two pieces are multilateral negotiations to address foreign overcapacity and continued aggressive pursuit of foreign anti-competitive practices, such as subsidization and closed markets.
Strong tariff-based remedies under Section 201, coupled with government assistance to address the massive legacy costs that are preventing the domestic industry from restructuring, will help create an industry in a position to compete over the long run with anyone in the world.
SOURCE: Bethlehem Steel Corporation
Contact: Bob Bilheimer of Bethlehem Steel, +1-610-694-3711, or Mark