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U.S. International Trade Commission Affirms Success of the President's Steel Program

U. S. Steel Chairman Tom Usher Applauds ITC Determination; Expects President to Continue Successful Section 201 Program for Full Three-Year Term


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today released its mid-term report, as required under Section 204 of the trade laws, to the President regarding the steel safeguard measures. The ITC's report confirms that the steel safeguard measures implemented by the President are working.

After an extensive investigation and numerous hearings, the ITC found that the domestic steel industry is taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the safeguard measures to undertake the critical restructuring and consolidation necessary to compete with low-priced imports. Since March 2002, American flat-rolled steel manufacturers have invested over $3 billion to consolidate and improve productivity. American steel companies and workers are beginning to see real signs of recovery, but much remains to be achieved. The industry and its workers are now urging the President to maintain these essential relief measures to ensure the completion of the restructuring efforts.

"I applaud the President for implementing a program that has allowed the American steel industry to position itself to better compete against injurious imports stemming from the massive foreign excess steelmaking capacity," said Thomas J. Usher, Chairman and CEO of United States Steel Corporation. Mr. Usher further stated that "the ITC determined correctly that the domestic steel industry has made tremendous progress in its restructuring efforts." Mr. Usher added, however, that "much work remains to be done, and I do not believe that anybody could honestly expect this industry to completely restructure in as little as eighteen months."

In discussing the likelihood that the President will continue the Section 201 relief measures, Mr. Usher stated that he had "confidence that the President will continue this successful program," further stating that "any weakening of the relief would have devastating effects on the industry and undermine the progress that has been made."

With respect to steel consuming industries, the ITC recognized that the impact of the Section 201 measures on consuming industries has been relatively modest. Mr. Usher stated that "there is ample evidence that the recovery of steel prices has not had a severe impact on steel consumers." The fact is that the crisis in the domestic manufacturing sector has been caused by a number of factors, including foreign currency manipulation, market-distorting foreign trade practices, rising energy costs, and excessive regulation -- and not the modest tariff on steel imports, which on average on all steel imports is only 5 percent.

Mr. Usher also briefly commented on the European Union threats to immediately retaliate against the United States if the President did not terminate the safeguard measures following a negative WTO decision. Usher said, "As I have stated before, the WTO decision in this case is plainly wrong on the facts and the law. Threats by the European Union to immediately retaliate are unjustified and would represent a clear violation of the WTO Agreements. I do not believe that the President can be bullied by such tactics.

"U. S. Steel continues to strongly support the President's program and expects the Administration to maintain the remedy measures for the full three years the President provided."

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SOURCE: United States Steel Corporation

CONTACT: Terry Straub, +1-202-783-6331, or Mike Dixon, +1-412-433-6860,
both of United States Steel Corporation

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