Congressional Steel Caucus Holds Meeting on State of Steel Industry

The Congressional Steel Caucus held a hearing on The State of the Steel Industry in Washington on Wednesday, June 7, where prominent steel executives and the United Steelworkers (USW) union gave testimony on issues such as international trade and sustainability.

In his opening remarks, US Rep. Frank Mrvan (D.-Ind.), vice-chairman of the Caucus, stressed his gratitude for these witnesses’ commitment “to support our workers, our national economy, and our national security.”

“We know that American workers can compete with anyone in the world when given a level playing field, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with my colleagues to enhance our trade remedy abilities,” Mrvan said.

Below, please find selected remarks from statements of the witnesses’ testimony in the order that they were listed. Their full remarks can be found here.


Roy Houseman, Legislative Director of USW:

“Regarding the global arrangement and the steel 232, USW remains committed to maintaining the 232 tariff relief and urges Congress to support a successful negotiation of a global arrangement on steel excess capacity and carbon intensity with the European Union (EU),” Houseman said.

Lourenco Goncalves, chairman, president and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs:

Goncalves said that on May 8 Cliffs completed a successful hydrogen trial at their Middletown Works blast furnace in Ohio, injecting hydrogen into all 20 tuyeres of the furnace.

“This was the first trial of its kind in the Western Hemisphere,” he said. “This groundbreaking use of hydrogen as an iron reductant is a massive step toward the continued decarbonization of the superior steels produced by the blast furnace-BOF route, and utilized by the automotive industry.”

He also said Cliffs is working to bring about a clean hydrogen economy through their participation in two Midwestern hydrogen hubs.

Further in his testimony he said that hydrogen-powered vehicles are a very real alternative to battery electric vehicles.

As Cliffs is an electrical steel producer, Goncalves took issue with a letter sent to President Biden by trade groups led by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, about the limited availability of electrical steels.

He said Cliffs is “currently producing more GOES (grain-oriented electrical steel) than our customers are able to receive and process.”

Richard Fruehauf, SVP and chief strategy and sustainability officer at US Steel:

“Strong trade enforcement and continuation of the Section 232 national security action on steel imports is critical,” Fruehauf said. “We thank the Caucus for their support of the industry’s AD/CVD cases and confronting unfair trade.”

He highlighted the Caucus’ focus as the US and EU discuss a potential global arrangement on steel overcapacity and decarbonization.

“A successful outcome and agreement would be one that ensures America makes the green steel our nation needs for electric vehicles, our power grid and the clean economy,” he said.

Citing many of US Steel’s projects aimed at sustainability, he touted US Steel’s recently announced new electrical steel product, known as InduXTM, which will begin production at its Big River Steel operation in Arkansas this summer with the commissioning of its new nongrain oriented electrical steel line.

“By producing InduXTM in the United States, US Steel is making a significant investment-$450 million-in American jobs and bolstering the resilience of our country’s domestic supply chain,” Fruehauf said.

Leon Topalian, chair, president, and CEO of Nucor:

“Vigorous enforcement of our nation’s trade laws coupled with pro-growth tax policies have limited the impact of unfairly traded imports and have unleashed a wave of investment by the domestic industry,” Topalian said.

He noted that since the beginning of 2020, Nucor is now more than two-thirds of the way through a $14-billion cap-ex plan that will double the company’s earnings potential from their pre-pandemic levels.

Topalian added that more than 70% of all steel produced in the US is now made by electric-arc furnaces and that will continue to grow in coming years.

“This massive growth in sustainable steel did not happen as the result of any government regulations or subsidies, but by simply letting the market work,” he said.

However, he said that international competitors continue to produce “unrelenting amounts of the dirtiest steel on the planet, often subsidized by their governments.”

He commented, for example, that China has produced more than 1 billion tons of high-emissions steel from integrated mills in each of the last four years.

“We will win if our nation is truly seeking to use the cleanest steel to build out our economy,” Topalian said.

Barbara Smith, chairman and CEO of Commercial Metals Co. (CMC):

“At CMC our products are substantially lower in embodied carbon than both integrated producers and most EAF steel producers globally due to our continuous investment in innovative new technologies,” Smith said.

She commented that over the past five years at CMC, they have commissioned a new micro-mill in Oklahoma.

“In addition, we are in the process of commissioning a first-of-its-kind merchant and rebar combination micro-mill in Arizona and have recently announced the construction of a new micro-mill in West Virginia totaling approximately 1.5 million tons of new steel production capacity and $1.5 billion in capital investment,” she said.

Andy Annakin, chief commercial officer and EVP of Bull Moose Industries:

Annakin said that at the recent Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports (CPTI) annual meeting, members discussed the new EU policy regarding a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). He added that “we all agreed that Congress should explore legislation that would level the playing field on entries of high-carbon imports by enacting legislation that imposes a cost to imports of high-carbon-emitting steel products.

“This is necessary to prevent carbon leakage in the form of an import surge into the U.S. when the EU, UK and Canada impose carbon tariffs,” Annakin said.

By Ethan Bernard,

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