WASHINGTON, April 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the second day of hearings of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Commerce (DOC) on the steel crisis in America, Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), told Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker that the crisis is fueled by global overcapacity and has caused the loss of 13,500 jobs. Gibson said the government must: "vigorously enforce U.S. trade laws; not give in to Chinese demands that it be automatically graduated to market economy status; and, press for binding commitments from steelmaking nations to eliminate excess capacity and subsidies resulting from government market-distorting policies and practices." [Video and testimonies from the hearing can be found here.]
"This import surge is the result of foreign government interventionist policies that have fueled massive, and growing, global overcapacity in steel, estimated by the OECD to be about 700 million metric tons today. More than half of that overcapacity – 425 million metric tons – is located in China, where government market-distorting policies have dramatically increased the size of their industry, to the point that it today represents half of all global steel production," Gibson said. "The Chinese model of government intervention is now being emulated in other countries as well, perpetuating the growing overcapacity problem."
Gibson added that Chinese steel exports to third countries are being further processed into steel products that are then exported to the United States. For example, Chinese billets may be further processed in Turkey into long products which are then exported to the United States, while Chinese flat-rolled steel may be converted into pipe products in Korea which are then exported to the U.S. market.
Gibson urged that the Administration: 1) vigorously enforce U.S. trade laws, and use all means available under our trade laws to provide immediate relief to the U.S. industry from the injurious effects of the surge in imports; 2) continue to treat China as a non-market economy for antidumping purposes, as granting China such status before it has truly become a market economy would undermine the effectiveness of our trade laws; and, 3) press for binding commitments from China and other countries to eliminate excess capacity and to eliminate steel-specific subsidies and other market-distorting policies and practices creating overcapacity or preventing market-driven industry adjustment abroad.
AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI's website at www.steel.org. Follow AISI on Facebook or Twitter (@AISISteel).
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SOURCE American Iron and Steel Institute