Trade Cases

Steelmaker Testifies: Make Sure Tariffs are Effective

Written by Tim Triplett

U.S. steel producers consider the Trump administration tariffs on steel imports a big step forward, albeit a journey still in progress, but are not resting on their laurels. AK Steel CEO Roger Newport presented the industry’s case once again in testimony Thursday before the House Ways and Means Committee in support of Section 232.

“We encourage Congress to support the actions of the administration to ensure the steel Section 232 tariffs are effective, and that the U.S. maintains the ability to produce products critical to our national security interests, including the electrical infrastructure supply chain,” Newport said.

“At no time in our history have the challenges confronting the domestic steel industry because of unfair trade been more severe than the last three years when unfairly traded imports spiked to record highs, threatening to impair our national security interests. Nowhere is this more evident than for electrical steel, where due to unfair trade AK Steel is now the only remaining domestic producer of electrical steel for transformers, which are critical to the nation’s electric grid. Recognizing the global reality domestic steel producers face and the inadequacies of the trade laws to address it, President Trump took the bold and necessary action of imposing tariffs on foreign steel because of the Department of Commerce’s 232 investigation.”

In his testimony, Newport also noted that for the 232 remedy to be effective for electrical steel, it must also apply to downstream products like laminations, cores, core assemblies and transformers. He emphasized the importance of the administration not losing sight of the president’s objective of restoring the domestic steel industry to at least 80 percent capacity utilization and making sure mechanisms are in place to combat attempts to circumvent the remedy and undermine its effectiveness.

“We must fight back to make American manufacturing stronger—given how critical it is to our economy and ensuring Americans have jobs with family sustaining wages that contribute to the health of our local communities across this great country,” Newport testified.

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