Dec 03 2003

Graham Reaffirms Support for Steel Tariffs

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today expressed his support for the tariffs currently placed on imported steel. Recent published reports have indicated the Bush Administration is planning to repeal the tariffs placed on foreign steel entering the U.S. market. “I hope the President will not rescind the steel tariffs he imposed to combat the dumping of foreign steel imports into the American market. The European and Asian imports are produced with heavy government subsidies and sold at prices that are sometimes below the production costs of American manufacturers. The foreign government subsidies amount to an unfair trade practice. “The steel tariffs implemented 18 months ago have allowed American steel manufacturers to regain some ground. Even with the tariffs the problem facing the steel industry is by no means totally corrected. “America’s will to protect manufacturing jobs from unfair trade practices must be greater than the will of other nations to capture American market share. If we abandon our efforts to correct unfair practices in steel, we are only empowering and encouraging the same practices in other areas of our economy. “It is not too much to ask other countries to play by the rules. If we fail to fight unjust trade practices our economy will continue to suffer and we will continue to lose American manufacturing jobs.” BACKGROUND: President Bush implemented the tariffs in 2001 following an investigation conducted by the U.S. International Trade Commission, which unanimously determined the U.S. steel industry was being seriously injured by unfair foreign competition. The phased import tariffs were designed to provide a three year window to enable domestic steel makers to recover, consolidate, and modernize enough to compete in the world market. President Bush also announced plans to negotiate with our trading partners to reverse what he termed a “50 year legacy of foreign government intervention in the market and direct financial support of their steel industries.” In its recently released report on the effects of the steel remedy, the ITC reported to the President that the domestic steel industry is effectively using this temporary respite to adjust to competition. However, the industry is depending on the three years it was promised to complete the restructuring and consolidation process. ####