PITTSBURGH, April 26, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement today in support of a new petition filed by United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The petition was filed at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking relief from China's unfair and illegal practices in the steel sector.
"America's steel sector is under attack by China. Repeated illegal and predatory trade practices have devastated production and employment in steel and many others sectors. Last week, China made clear at the OECD steel meetings that it has no intention of cooperating with other countries to help manage the problems caused by overcapacity in the steel sector. As China pushed its chair away from the negotiating table, new data was released highlighting its steel shipments reaching a new record. China's steel exports continue to swamp the world, jeopardizing the very survival of free markets.
"Today the USW stands with U.S. Steel in its effort to put a stop to China's illegal and predatory acts targeting our country's steel sector. The approach the company is taking is bold, but necessary. The USW has joined with the company on many antidumping and countervailing duty cases. U.S. Steel is now utilizing a provision of the law that has primarily been used to combat intellectual property rights violations. But the underlying law also provides broad authority to stop the kind of actions China is utilizing. When implemented, it will prohibit imports altogether from entering our market.
"China has made clear that it wants to reap the benefits of trade without abiding by the rules it agreed to follow. Repeatedly China has broken the rules – often with no response. This effort is adding a new arrow in the quiver to attack their actions. We will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that America's steel producers and workers can continue to support our national and economic security.
"In recent months, more than 13,500 steelworkers have received layoff notices. Facilities are being shuttered, some never again to resume production. Families are being devastated and communities are suffering as their tax bases decline.
"The case clearly lays out the array of actions China has taken to steal market share and jobs, including conspiring on pricing among producers; creating elaborate evasion schemes to make enforcement difficult; and using state-sponsored hackers to steal trade secrets and proprietary technologies. These technologies are vital to the production of lighter and stronger materials used in the auto sector, the single largest consumer of steel in the United States.
"In addition, U.S. Steel production is being undermined by the support and coordination of the activities of Chinese state-owned firms under its Five Year Plans and associated policies to dominate world steel production, while decimating competitors.
"The American people are sick and tired of business-as-usual trade policies. This case launches a new effort to restore stability to our steel sector and allow free market principles, not communist party goals, to guide our economy."
What is Section 337?
Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 authorizes the U.S. International Trade Commission to take action against "unfair methods of competition and unfair acts in the importation of articles…the threat or effect of which is – 1) to destroy or substantially injure an industry in the United States; 2) to prevent the establishment of such an industry; or, 3) to restrain or monopolize trade and commerce in the United States." Initial consideration of a complaint at the ITC is by an Administrative Law Judge and their decision will be reviewed by the full Commission. If relief is authorized, the United States Trade Representative has the authority to review any recommendation.
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/.