Presidential Candidates Address Steel Industry Challenges

Written by Sandy Williams

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she will crack down on Chinese steel dumping if elected president.

Clinton vowed to triple the number of trade enforcement officials, pursue countervailing duties on subsidized imports, confront currency manipulation and appoint a new trade prosecutor that reports directly to the president.

Chinese steelmaking overcapacity continues to be a problem that has resulted in a global steel crisis. Clinton said she would “not tolerate attempts by China to solve its growing economic problems on the back of American worker.”

“As president, I’ll aggressively pursue trade cases and impose consequences when China breaks the rules by dumping its cheap products in our markets,” Clinton said in a statement. “And I’ll oppose efforts to grant China so-called ‘market economy’ status, which would weaken our tools for dealing with this behavior. I’ve gone toe-to-toe with China’s top leaders on some of the toughest issues we face. I know how they operate – and they know that if I’m president, the games are going to end.”

Clinton said she would not support trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership if they don’t benefit U.S. workers through job creation and higher wages. She also said she would renegotiate NAFTA and other trade deals that have harmed American workers.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump also weighed in on the steel industry crisis during a rally in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Trump promised an enthusiastic crowd that he would bring back steel and coal.

“When I’m president, guess what, steel is coming back to Pittsburgh,” Trump pledged, noting the recent layoffs by US Steel.

“Steel, we’re bringing back,” said Trump. “Coal — clean coal, clean coal. We’re bringing it back.”

Trump blamed declining U.S. manufacturing on poorly negotiated trade deals.

“I sell condos for tens of millions of dollars to people in China,” he said. “I’m not angry at China’s leaders. I’m angry at our leaders for being so damn stupid.”

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