PITTSBURGH, Aug. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) told their union members at 16 steel facilities today that the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) made the right call on a final determination issued late Friday for duties on hot-rolled steel imports from seven countries.
"The Commerce Department's final ruling was anxiously awaited by steelworkers and steel companies for the past year of the investigation," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "It levels the playing field with imports to provide fair and sustainable market prices for American steel, a critical step in restoring balance to the market."
He further stated: "The hot-rolled steel trade case and others like it are vital to saving steel jobs and our communities. But they're only part of the solution. Chinese excess steel overcapacity is causing terrible injury world-wide and remains a long-term threat.
"In America, we must reignite demand by rebuilding the nation's failing infrastructure and manufacturing growth with our own steel in order to compete in a global economy."
The trade case, filed by six U.S. steel companies last August, charged producers in Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom with violating international trade laws by improperly subsidizing their steel producers and by dumping hot-rolled steel at below market prices in the U.S. market.
The USW said all that remains in the hot-rolled steel product case is the final ruling of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) on the injury investigation following last week's hearing. USW International Vice President Tom Conway expressed confidence the six commissioners will vote an affirmative ruling early next month to complete the investigation.
Testifying at last week's trade commission hearing with a dozen steelworkers present from Pennsylvania and Ohio, Conway emphasized the enforcement action by the U.S. is about national and economic security. He pointedly asked: "Do we want to be dependent on imported steel because there are no American steelworkers left?"
In his testimony, Conway highlighted frightening data from a government report published in the first quarter of this year. "One figure jumped out," he declared. "Steelworker wages are almost $50 million less than they were in the first quarter of 2015. Think of what lost income of this magnitude means to real people, real families."
He told the trade commission that retirees are barely hanging on to pensions and health care benefits. "We have to stop the bleeding."
Steelworkers and iron ore miners have been devastated by surging imports of hot-rolled, cold-rolled and corrosion-resistant flat steel products that are all in the final stages of separate trade case enforcement actions. More than 19,000 ongoing layoffs in the steel sector states have resulted from idled facilities.
Many of these steelworkers and iron ore miners have exhausted unemployment eligibility, challenging food banks to meet rising demand and threatening home foreclosures. The Granite City steel works of U.S. Steel Corp. in Illinois has been idled since last year with 2,000 workers, along with miners on Minnesota's iron range.
The affected steel states include: Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Kentucky. Hot-rolled steel is used in automotive applications, pipe, tubing, transportation equipment, appliances, heavy machinery, machine parts and nonresidential construction.
According to the USDOC fact sheet, the final determination on antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duties for hot-rolled steel exports by producers in each country are:
- Australia – 29.37 percent (AD)
- Brazil – 33.14 to 34.28 percent (AD); 11.09 to 11.30 percent (CVD)
- Japan – 4.99 to 7.51 percent (AD)
- Korea – 3.89 to 9.49 percent (AD); 3.89 to 57.04 percent (CVD)
- Netherlands – 3.73 percent (AD)
- Turkey – 3.66 to 7.15 percent (AD); .34 (de minimis) to 6.01 percent (CVD)
- United Kingdom – 33.06 percent (AD)
The USITC final injury determination for hot-rolled steel must be made by Sept. 19, 2016. The duties announced by the government will then remain in place for five years for imports from the seven countries.
The six steel corporations that filed the petition are: AK Steel Corp., Ohio; ArcelorMittal USA LLC, Ill.; Nucor Corporation, N.C.; SSAB Enterprises, LLC, Ill.; Steel Dynamics, Inc., Ind., and U.S. Steel Corp., Pa.
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, email@example.com
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)