On behalf of the members of the Steel Manufacturers Association, President Philip K. Bell communicated the letter below to the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and to the Members of the U.S. Senate, on Friday, March 13, 2020.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED
Subject: Support of Section 232 National Security Tariffs During Coronavirus Emergency
Our domestic steel industry continues its battle against global excess capacity, state-owned enterprises and unfair trade practices that include dumping, circumvention and subsidies. Chinese steel production is at an all-time high. In 2019, China produced a record 1.1 billion tons of steel. By comparison, the entire American steel industry produces about 100 million tons. A significant portion of this steel is being stockpiled, waiting to find its way to our shores with little regard to our trade laws.
The coronavirus has the potential to upend the success of the Section 232 tariffs. The Section 232 has reduced unfairly traded imports, increased domestic steel capacity utilization, and spurred billions in steel industry investments and innovation. Removal of the Section 232 tariffs, as some trade associations have advised, would open the floodgates to market distorting shipments of massive inventories of excess steel capacity from around the globe.
The Steel Manufacturers Association understands the threat posed by the coronavirus. We support the efforts to deal with this public health crisis and its impact on our economy, but our current economic challenges do not warrant elimination of the 232 tariffs on steel. The steel tariffs are working and ending or reducing them would create further harm to the economy and the American steel industry. Proposals to end the tariffs would handicap an industry that is essential to our Nation’s security and economic prosperity.
During this very volatile time, we ask that all members of Congress support the Administration’s 232 tariffs on steel.
Philip K. Bell
Steel Manufacturers Association