State lawmakers and steel industry groups are calling on federal officials to enforce U.S. trade laws in the face of alleged “dumping” by China.
The bipartisan Senate Resolution 365 was adopted on Thursday. A similar House resolution was passed in May.
The resolution calls on President Barack Obama and Congress to take all necessary action to protect the domestic steel industry from unfair competition, including illegal steel dumping. It also urges the U.S. Department of Commerce to maintain China’s “non-market economy” status to preserve the ability of U.S. companies and workers to access domestic trade law remedies.
“As a military veteran, I know firsthand that a strong steel industry is not only good for our economy; it’s vital to our national security,” said state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Allegheny County.
“The passage of these Senate and House Resolutions sends a strong message to Washington D.C. that Pennsylvania’s elected officials demand action on unfair and illegal trade practices that are harming our steel industry,” Reschenthaler said.
The issue has had a ripple-effect across the U.S. and worldwide, as critics of Chinese policy say that nation has been selling steel internationally at artificially low prices, undercutting domestic producers, as its own economic growth slows and demand for steel cools within China.
Observers have suggested that trend as a factor in the ongoing woes of ArcelorMittal, which in January confirmed that sale talks were underway for its steelmaking plant in Steelton.
The Pennsylvania Steel Alliance, a trade group, praised the Senate resolution.
“The American steel industry and its steelworkers work tirelessly to meet the highest standards to produce world class steel products, but our industry is severely threatened by illegal steel dumping and unfair trade practices,” said Christopher Masciantonio, general manager of government affairs for U. S. Steel and co-chairman of the alliance.
“The Pennsylvania Steel Alliance commends the Senate and House of Representatives of Pennsylvania for expressing its strong support for rules-based fair trade and enforcement of our nation’s trade laws.”
The nation’s steel industry employs more than a million people across the country, including 136,000 in Pennsylvania, according to American Iron and Steel Institute statistics.