Pryor Urges Trade Commission to Uphold Trade Laws, Defend Steel Jobs in Arkansas from Unfair Foreign Trade Practices
Senator Mark Pryor today testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of Arkansas' steel industry about the need to protect domestic steel producers from illegal foreign trade practices. The ITC will decide in the Fall whether to maintain the tariffs placed on steel exports from 11 countries for an additional 5 years.
Pryor said current tariffs on hot-rolled steel imports should remain in place because they protect American steel producers from countries who have a history of unfair trade practices. He expressed concerns that domestic steel companies cannot afford to invest in their employees and technology if they are forced to compete with foreign manufacturers who export subsidized imports. Countries covered by the current hot-rolled steel tariff include China, Argentina, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Romania, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine.
"The hundreds of Arkansans working in the hot-rolled industry at Nucor's plant in Hickman, Arkansas certainly know how to compete. They operate one of the most productive steel mills in the world and provide high-quality steel to the most demanding of customers. They are hard working, innovative, and determined workers, and they can stand up to any competitor in the world if the playing field is level," Pryor testified. "However, it's unfair and damaging when they are forced to compete against foreign steel producers who receive massive subsidies or those who engage in unfair trade practices."
Pryor testified today on behalf of Arkansas steel producers in Newport, Magnolia, Armorel, Fort Smith, Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
The ITC is an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency that determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices. The ITC applied tariffs against the hot-rolled steel offenders equal to the amount at which the product was sold and the true fair value. Affirmative rulings, such as the current tariff ruling on hot-rolled steel imports, are subject to "sunset reviews" whereby the ITC can maintain or revoke an order.