Industry Leaders Applaud Pennsylvania Governor And General Assembly for Their Support of Steel Industry
Leaders of United States Steel Corporation, the United Steelworkers of America and Bethlehem Steel Corporation commended the Governor and General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania today for unanimously passing concurrent resolutions urging President Bush to take swift actions to save the struggling domestic steel industry.
The concurrent resolutions were initially discussed at a meeting among USWA and industry leadership called by Governor Mark Schweiker to discuss the economic crisis created by the surge in steel imports which began in 1998. As a result of that meeting, Governor Schweiker called upon the General Assembly to introduce the resolutions.
The resolutions noted that Pennsylvania is the "birthplace of the American Steel Industry and home to the country's largest steel producers" -- U. S. Steel and Bethlehem -- and to the USWA. The resolutions also encouraged the President to implement substantial tariffs covering the full range of products where injury has been found by the International Trade Commission in a Section 201 investigation.
Thomas J. Usher, chairman, CEO and president of U. S. Steel, said, "I wish to personally thank the Governor and all members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly for recognizing the severity of the crisis and sending a clear message that a strong Section 201 remedy is essential. President Bush demonstrated bold leadership last June in initiating the Section 201 trade investigation, and now he needs to implement the strongest possible remedy. A 40 percent tariff covering all products must be imposed for four years in order to allow the industry to recover from the serious injury caused by imports. Otherwise, the very future of the domestic industry is at stake."
USWA International President Leo W. Gerard said the overwhelming support was "indicative of just how strong bi-partisan sentiment is throughout the industrial states for having President Bush impose strong tariffs. It's the same in Ohio and West Virginia," he said. "And similar action has even been taken by the Alabama legislature. These resolutions send a clear message to Washington that elected officials at the state level won't stand for steelworkers, steelworker retirees and their families being victimized -- through no fault of their own -- by illegal trade. Our members are the most productive steelworkers in the world, and the elected officials of both parties understand that they wouldn't be free from the consequences of letting these families and their communities be victimized. So we welcome their support and hope the White House hears their message loud and clear."
Bethlehem Steel's chairman and CEO Robert S. Miller, Jr. added, "We have a strong ally in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Pennsylvania's government leadership has recognized the severity of the steel crisis, its economic consequences for our steel communities and their families, and they have acted. I wish to thank them for their strong support. It is now time to move forward. I join the members of the General Assembly in calling upon the President to impose a strong, comprehensive 201 remedy."
The resolution was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny), who said, "We as a chamber can stand together as the advocates of Pennsylvania's steelworkers and their families to call on the federal government to review and implement the ITC recommendations and restore fairness to fair trade. It's long past time for the federal government to take the steps necessary to ensure that this level playing field becomes an international reality."
The resolution was sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative John Pippy (R-Allegheny). The resolution unanimously passed in the House 194-0. "With a united and bipartisan voice," said Representative Pippy, "we are sending a clear message to Washington urging President Bush to take any and all necessary steps to rebuild a strong and globally competitive United States steel industry. It's clear that the playing field is not level. It's imperative that we as a nation do what we must to level out that field, so we never become dependent on other countries for steel."
Currently about half of the steel producers in the United States are in bankruptcy, and steel prices have fallen to 20-year lows. President Bush initiated an investigation into the crisis last June through the International Trade Commission. Following months of testimony, the International Trade Commission, in a unanimous 6-0 ruling, found serious injury had been inflicted upon the industry by the surge in imports and recommended to the President that tariffs should be implemented on the full range of steel products. The President is anticipated to announce his remedy on March 6.
The concurrent resolutions have been delivered to President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans and the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation.
SOURCE: United States Steel Corporation
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