U.S. Enforcement Win of WTO Case Against China's Illegal Duties Deserves Credit for Defense of American Steel Jobs, Industry

USW President Gerard Cites USTR for Action

Aug 05, 2015, 16:07 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW), commended the Obama Administration for the outcome of last Friday's enforcement ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China's illegal duties placed on American exports of a specialty steel.

"China keeps violating global fair trade standards it agreed to abide upon joining the WTO," Gerard declared. "After being found in 2012 to have violated international trade rules by illegally imposing tariffs on exports made by American steelworkers and companies, China refused to comply with the WTO decision.

"We commend the U.S. for entering a second challenge at the WTO to win a compliance order and can report China has now terminated their unfairly applied duties."

Gerard stated further: "The WTO exposed China for cheating on the rules by imposing illegal duties in an attempt to protect its state-owned steel industry and to block American entry of a high-end product in their home market.

"It cost U.S. steelmakers more than $250 million in annual export losses and hurt our jobs. It is time for China to live by the rules or face the consequences."

He compares the U.S. proceedings under WTO standards that are a year-long process for establishing duties against China subsidized and dumped imports. "It takes multiple public hearings, fact-based evidence, costly investigations and research, plus submissions of sworn testimony, and rulings by a federal trade commission before U.S. duties can be applied."

According to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Jul. 31 announcement, the dispute involved U.S. exports of grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) made by AK Steel Corp. in Ohio, and USW-represented steelworkers employed in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio by Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI), plus UAW-represented workers at Allegheny Ludlum.

The USW represents about 400 steelworkers, mostly in Pennsylvania, producing GOES.

Tom Conway, USW International Vice President, says China didn't change or revoke the illegal dumping duties in the wake of the June 2012 WTO Appellate Body ruling – causing annual shipments for American steel shipments of GOES to plummet to $3 million by the beginning of 2014.

"China caused great damage to our American steel producers in this market. The WTO compliance ruling and the now revoked duties should encourage our companies to re-enter the Chinese steel market."

Separately, the USW is a petitioner in a pending U.S. trade case with AK Steel and ATI filed in 2013 against China and six other countries for dumping and subsidized imports of GOES imports. Conway said a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) didn't consider critical data in a negative determination. "We appealed the matter to the Court of International Trade and are now waiting for a decision requiring reconsideration.

"Jobs and industry investments are at stake and we need to defend our own market against countries that don't play by the standards set by the WTO."

USW Local 1138 President Mike Abate, who represents about 340 steelworkers employed by ATI at a steel mill in Bagdad, PA, said: "About half of our workforce are dedicated to the production of the GOES product. In light of the WTO decision to stop China's predatory practices against our steel exports, we have urged the company to hire new workers and invest more into the GOES product line."

GOES is a high value, high-tech magnetic specialty steel that is used by the power generating industry in transformers, reactors and large electric machines.

The USW has worked closely the past several years with the Obama Administration and the USTR in fighting unfair foreign trade practices. Gerard has commended the USTR record since 2009 that has brought 19 enforcement actions in the WTO. "The Administration has won every single one decided so far, but more challenges are needed to be sure our trading partners follow the rules."

The USTR announcement can be viewed at: U.S. Wins Trade Enforcement Challenge to China's Duties on Steel.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that        include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.  For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

Contact: Gary Hubbard, 202-256-8125, ghubbard@usw.org

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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)