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GLIN==> Aggressive steel policy sought
- Subject: GLIN==> Aggressive steel policy sought
- From: Kirk Haverkamp <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 12:03:40 -0500
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- List-Name: GLIN-Announce
- Organization: Great Lakes Commission
- User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:0.9.4) Gecko/20011019 Netscape6/6.2
For immediate release
Great Lakes Commission calls for aggressive action to revive domestic
Ann Arbor, Mich.— The federal government needs to adopt an aggressive
policy to combat problems in the domestic steel industry, according to a
leading public policy agency in the Great Lakes region.
The Great Lakes Commission, an interstate compact agency established under
state and U.S. federal law, is urging the U.S. government to pursue a long-term
strategy to boost steel exports and reduce unfair and illegal competition
from abroad. The Great Lakes region has been hit hard by a flood of cheap
imported steel dumped on the U.S. market. Nationally, this has caused “serious
injury” to the U.S. steel industry, according to a ruling by the U.S. International
“A high level of steel imports in recent years has resulted in many problems
for the steel sector and supporting iron ore mining industry, including an
increasing level of job loss,” said Chairman Nat Robinson. “We urge the International
Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce to consider our policy action
as remedies are devised.”
In a policy resolution unanimously adopted by its eight member states, the
Commission calls upon the federal government to conclude an effective multilateral
steel agreement with trading partners that will eliminate all subsidies and
other unfair trade practices while preserving the ability of national industries
to use trade laws to address unfair trade practices.
“Illegally subsidized imports have had a devastating effect on this industry
in recent years,” said George Ryan, president of the Lake Carriers Association.
“Our productivity is as good or better than anyone in the world, but when
your competitors are getting a free handout at home, it’s just incredibly
difficult to keep pace.”
The resolution also calls upon the federal government to address foreign
trade barriers by linking access to the U.S. market to reciprocal openings
for high-value U.S. steel products. Furthermore, the federal government is
urged to take an active role in resolving the third world debt crisis, which
has led some countries to “dump” steel in a desperate bid for revenue.
Other Commission recommendations include:
• Discouraging international finance agencies and foreign governments
from supporting construction of new steel facilities while steel remains
in oversupply worldwide.
• Linking access to the U.S. market, where appropriate, to efforts by
developing countries to raise labor standards, including wages, benefits
and health and safety standards, in their export steel industries.
• Making the establishment of comparable environmental standards for
foreign industries which export to the U.S. a major goal of U.S. trade and
• Promoting the development of state adjustment assistance strategies
to help workers and communities cope with changes in the world steel industry.
Great Lakes states account for 65 percent of domestic steel production and
almost all of the nation’s production of iron ore. It is estimated that if
Michigan’s Marquette range and Minnesota’s Mesabi range were to close due
to low demand, the Upper Peninsula and Northern Minnesota could lose more
than $1 billion in economic activity, a serious blow in a region lacking
The recent bankruptcy filing by Bethlehem Steel made it the 24th U.S. steel
firm to seek court protection since 1998. Throughout the 1990s, rising levels
of imported steel resulted in an average loss of 5,000 U.S. steel industry
jobs each year.
Large steel producers who create new steel from raw ore have been particularly
affected. Such producers play a critical role in the nation’s security, with
the capacity to turn out large quantities of steel for defense manufacturing
in the event of a national emergency.
Contact: Mike Donahue, President/CEO, Great Lakes Commission, 734-665-9135