Congressional Steel Caucus Chairman Tim Murphy (PA-18) and Vice Chairman Pete Visclosky (IN-01) today convened a hearing focused on the current state of the steel industry.
The Caucus heard from steel industry leaders and discussed the impact of Chinese trade abuses and proposals to promote steel production and job creation in the U.S.
Visclosky's opening statement, as prepared for delivery, is below.
Good morning. I would like to thank you and all of our distinguished witnesses for taking the time to come this early morning and provide us with your insight into the current state of the steel industry. I also would like to thank Chairman Murphy for holding today's hearing. I find this annual hearing to be a valuable resource to learn about the current issues of concern for American steelmakers, and I deeply appreciate the time and preparation our witnesses have taken to provide us with your perspectives on how Congress and the Steel Caucus can be most helpful.
From my perspective, while there has been some positive news recently about our economy, I remain concerned about the 13.7 million workers that are out of work, and I believe that we still must take action to ensure our recent growth remains strong and true. I know that in Northwest Indiana and across the country, the steel industry is the backbone of the economy and of our economic recovery, so I remain committed to ensuring that American steel has the tools and resources necessary to compete and succeed.
One essential tool that was recently under discussion was our ability to apply countervailing duties to non-market economies, such as China. I am pleased that the House and Senate were able to cooperate and work in a timely fashion to send President Obama legislation that ensured this tool was preserved. The ability to apply such duties in our trade cases is critical to ensuring that we can compete with China, and I thank our witnesses and the industry for your support in the quick enactment of this legislation.
China continues to be of great concern to me, and everywhere I look it seems they are breaking the rules. I am alarmed at how the Chinese government is inherently involved in their steel industry, and believe that more must be done to ensure that American steelworkers can compete against such government influence. We also have done far too little to address Chinese currency manipulation and their lack of labor and environmental standards, not to mention their disregard of intellectual property rights. I often say we need to have the same rules to level the playing field with China, but I do not think we are even playing the same game anymore.
This past month, the National Science and Technology Council stated that the United States has either lost or is on the verge of losing a number of vital defense and national security technologies, such as aircraft landing gear, large rotor disks for turbines, and rocket engine parts. We have an obligation to the future of our country and to working men and women that we do our utmost to ensure that we continue to make things in our country. You have my commitment that I will continue to fight to ensure the survival of our manufacturing base, the foundation of which is rested in the steel industry. I again appreciate your willingness to come here today and provide us with your perspectives on how we can help you continue to make steel and drive our economy forward.
Thank you Mr. Chairman for the time and I look forward to hearing all of your testimonies.