Weirton Steel Asks Federal Officials to Stand Firm Against International Attempt to Block Actions Against Steel Imports

Apr 05, 2001, 01:00 ET from Weirton Steel Corp.

    WEIRTON, W.Va., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Weirton Steel Corp. (NYSE:   WS) has
 sent letters to various federal officials, including President Bush, asking
 them to stand firm against a coalition of foreign steel companies set to
 oppose any attempt by the U.S. to restrict steel imports.
     An alliance of steel producers from the European Union, Korea and Japan
 soon is expected to begin a campaign against U.S. intervention into steel
 imports from those nations.
     "The response by these foreign steelmakers is not surprising.  After all,
 they've been making a tremendous amount of money by dumping their products in
 U.S. markets, all at the expense of domestic steel producers and their
 workers," said John H. Walker, Weirton Steel president and chief executive
 officer.
     On March 21, Korean and European Union steel producers met to discuss a
 common stance against possible U.S. intervention into imports.  On April 9,
 Korean and Japanese steel officials reportedly will meet to discuss the issue.
     In recent months, members of Congress, the domestic industry and its
 unions have made attempts to persuade the Bush administration to act on
 illegally priced imports.  Common to each proposal is a call for the president
 to invoke Section 201 of the Fair Trade Act of 1974.
     Section 201 provides Bush the authority to take emergency safeguards if
 the U.S. International Trade Commission determines the steel industry has been
 injured by or faces serious injury from the imports.  The president could
 impose tariffs, quantitative restrictions or specific marketing agreements.
     Concerning the foreign alliance, a portion of Walker's letter reads, "I
 find this very disturbing because these are the same countries in which many
 of us in the industry have had to challenge due to their endless unfair trade
 practices.  Additionally, our industry had been lambasted by imports from
 these countries."  It further stated, "While I and others in the industry
 recognize the merits of global trade, it is also very important that trade is
 conducted in a fair manner.  I am not convinced that this has happened in
 steel."
     Walker's letter requests the government not to compromise its position on
 the trade issue "or to surrender to the pressures imposed by our trade
 partners."
     Since the steel import problem began in 1997, 18 domestic steel companies
 have filed for bankruptcy protection, thousands of steel jobs have been lost
 and steel stock prices have drastically dropped.  Walker said a significant
 portion of the imports are being sold in U.S. markets at prices that violate
 federal trade laws.
     In addition to Bush, other federal officials who were mailed the letter
 include: Trade Representative Robert Zoellick; Commerce Secretary Donald
 Evans; Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill; Labor Secretary Elaine Chao; Lawrence
 Lindsey, National Economic Council director; Andrew Card, Bush's chief of
 staff; and Josh Bolton, the president's deputy chief of staff for policy.
     Walker met last week with Zoellick and U.S. Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and
 Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to discuss the import crisis and the need to
 invoke Section 201 action.  Also attending were officials from Wheeling-
 Pittsburgh Steel Corp., the United Steelworkers of America and the Independent
 Steelworkers Union.
     Weirton Steel is the eighth largest U.S. integrated steel company and
 produces hot-rolled, cold-rolled, galvanized and tinplated steel.
 
                             http://www.weirton.com
 
 

SOURCE Weirton Steel Corp.
    WEIRTON, W.Va., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Weirton Steel Corp. (NYSE:   WS) has
 sent letters to various federal officials, including President Bush, asking
 them to stand firm against a coalition of foreign steel companies set to
 oppose any attempt by the U.S. to restrict steel imports.
     An alliance of steel producers from the European Union, Korea and Japan
 soon is expected to begin a campaign against U.S. intervention into steel
 imports from those nations.
     "The response by these foreign steelmakers is not surprising.  After all,
 they've been making a tremendous amount of money by dumping their products in
 U.S. markets, all at the expense of domestic steel producers and their
 workers," said John H. Walker, Weirton Steel president and chief executive
 officer.
     On March 21, Korean and European Union steel producers met to discuss a
 common stance against possible U.S. intervention into imports.  On April 9,
 Korean and Japanese steel officials reportedly will meet to discuss the issue.
     In recent months, members of Congress, the domestic industry and its
 unions have made attempts to persuade the Bush administration to act on
 illegally priced imports.  Common to each proposal is a call for the president
 to invoke Section 201 of the Fair Trade Act of 1974.
     Section 201 provides Bush the authority to take emergency safeguards if
 the U.S. International Trade Commission determines the steel industry has been
 injured by or faces serious injury from the imports.  The president could
 impose tariffs, quantitative restrictions or specific marketing agreements.
     Concerning the foreign alliance, a portion of Walker's letter reads, "I
 find this very disturbing because these are the same countries in which many
 of us in the industry have had to challenge due to their endless unfair trade
 practices.  Additionally, our industry had been lambasted by imports from
 these countries."  It further stated, "While I and others in the industry
 recognize the merits of global trade, it is also very important that trade is
 conducted in a fair manner.  I am not convinced that this has happened in
 steel."
     Walker's letter requests the government not to compromise its position on
 the trade issue "or to surrender to the pressures imposed by our trade
 partners."
     Since the steel import problem began in 1997, 18 domestic steel companies
 have filed for bankruptcy protection, thousands of steel jobs have been lost
 and steel stock prices have drastically dropped.  Walker said a significant
 portion of the imports are being sold in U.S. markets at prices that violate
 federal trade laws.
     In addition to Bush, other federal officials who were mailed the letter
 include: Trade Representative Robert Zoellick; Commerce Secretary Donald
 Evans; Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill; Labor Secretary Elaine Chao; Lawrence
 Lindsey, National Economic Council director; Andrew Card, Bush's chief of
 staff; and Josh Bolton, the president's deputy chief of staff for policy.
     Walker met last week with Zoellick and U.S. Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and
 Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to discuss the import crisis and the need to
 invoke Section 201 action.  Also attending were officials from Wheeling-
 Pittsburgh Steel Corp., the United Steelworkers of America and the Independent
 Steelworkers Union.
     Weirton Steel is the eighth largest U.S. integrated steel company and
 produces hot-rolled, cold-rolled, galvanized and tinplated steel.
 
                             http://www.weirton.com
 
 SOURCE  Weirton Steel Corp.