Trade Cases

Steel groups, USW urge action on stronger trade legislation

Written by Ethan Bernard

Three steel trade groups and the United Steelworkers (USW) union hosted an event on Capitol Hill on Wednesday urging action on strengthening legislation against unfair trade.

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), the Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports (CPTI), and the USW touted the benefits of the “Leveling the Playing Field 2.0 Act” (LTPF), which was introduced into both houses of Congress last year.

Nearly 30 attendees also attended Wednesday’s event, representing steel producers, pipe and tube manufacturers, and union workers across the US. Companies participating included Nucor, Cleveland-Cliffs, Steel Dynamics Inc., and SSAB Americas.

The groups hosted a breakfast where members of the Congressional Steel Caucus and other sponsors of LTPF 2.0 spoke. They also held a press conference and, later in the day, met with almost a dozen members of Congress.

They are urging action on the proposed LTPF 2.0 (the bipartisan bills currently have a combined 80 cosponsors) and pushing for its possible inclusion in trade legislative packages this year.

Steel trade groups press for action

“By strengthening the effectiveness of the US trade laws, this bill will help give the American public confidence that their government has every tool available to fight for a level playing field for the American steel industry and our workers,” AISI President and CEO Kevin Dempsey said in a statement on Wednesday.

Likewise, SMA President Philip K. Bell said, “We thank the cosponsors of the Leveling the Playing Field 2.0 Act and members of the Congressional Steel Caucus for joining steel companies, associations, and others for a day of activities on Capitol Hill devoted to passing this legislation, which would update trade remedy law to combat unfair trade practices in China and elsewhere that harm American workers.”

Additionally, Roger B. Schagrin, executive director and general counsel of CPTI, said, “US steel pipe and tube producers and their employees rely on a level playing field, and this legislation provides tools which will ensure the industry can continue to compete in a world market plagued by steel overcapacity and distortions caused by Chinese government ownership of their steel industry.”

He added: “We commend the sponsors of this bill for their commitment and leadership on this important legislation and urge Congress to act this year.”

USW stands up

Adding a union voice, USW President David McCall said, “USW members know firsthand the critical importance of passing the bipartisan Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 to protect their jobs from unfair trade.”

He remarked that the USW appreciates Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas), as well as other members of Congress, for their leadership in continuing to press for this legislation.

SSAB Americas responds

SMU reached out to a host of steelmakers that participated for comment. Responding to this request, Katie Larson, SSAB Americas’ VP of government relations and environmental sustainability, said: “SSAB Americas appreciates the work of congressional champions to advance the fair and vigorous application of US trade remedies in defense of the security and economic well-being of the entire domestic steel value chain.” 

She added that the company is encouraged by the opportunity to advance LTPF 2.0 into US law “in the very near future.”

Ethan Bernard

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