US steel Industry and unions urge Biden to keep Trump’s steel tariffs

WASHINGTON, DC– Four of the main US steel industry associations and the United Steelworkers union have urged President-elect Joe Biden to ensure steel tariffs and quotas, put in place in 2018 to protect the steel industry, are maintained.

In a letter to the president-elect, the unions urged that, “Continuation of the [steel] tariffs and quotas is essential to ensuring the viability of the domestic steel industry in the face of this massive and growing excess steel capacity. Removing or weakening of these measures before major steel producing countries eliminate their overcapacity – and the subsidies and other trade-distorting policies that have fueled the steel crisis — will only invite a new surge in imports with devastating effects to domestic steel producers and their workers.”

The letter states that the OECD last year projected that steel overcapacity would grow to 700 million metric tons in 2020 – eight times the total steel output of the United States last year. China, Vietnam and Turkey, among others, continue to increase their steel production even as the pandemic has caused demand for steel to drop around the world.  Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia and others continue to export large shares of their steel production to other markets.

“Unfortunately, the steel industry’s recovery was set back by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a significant drop in demand last spring, forcing painful job cuts as steel mills, fabricators and pipe and tube mills either cut back production or shut down entirely. As customers have restarted production, the steel industry has begun to recover, but we remain very vulnerable to new surges in imports,” the groups wrote.

“We stand ready to work with your administration to address the global trade distortions in steel that continue to threaten our industry and its workers,” they concluded.

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