By Rossella Brevetti
Reproduced with permission from Daily Report for Executives, No. 40, p. A-31 (Feb. 28, 2001). Copyright 2001 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. () http://www.bna.com.
The head of unionized employees at Weirton Steel Corp. Feb. 27 wrote to President Bush, urging that Thelma Askey not be reappointed as an International Trade Commission member.
Askey is a former ITC commissioner whose term expired last year. Then-President Clinton appointed Dennis Devaney to fill her position as a recess appointment. Bush subsequently announced his intention to nominate Askey, who served as a staff director on the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee before her stint with the ITC.
In the letter to Bush, Independent Steelworkers Union President Mark Glyptis said that the U.S. steel industry faces the worst crisis in history because of imports of illegally subsidized steel products. "The only relief available from this dumping of steel products into our economy must come from a finding by the International Trade Commission that the steel industry has been injured by the same," the letter said.
The letter said that Askey made final negative injury determinations in 75 of 111 cases or 68 percent of the time. Glyptis characterized Askey's voting record as "particularly troubling" in steel cases. He said that she was the only ITC member in 1999 to find that the U.S. steel industry had not been injured by unfairly subsidized steel from Brazil. Also, Askey made a negative determination in a case on cold-rolled steel, he said.
Union Characterization Questioned
Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition counsel Lewis Leibowitz, of Hogan & Hartson, told BNA that CITAC is supportive of Askey's nomination. "She's in the mainstream of trade thinking ... She's an expert," he said. Askey understands the needs of downstream industries and that view has a place in the six member commission, he said. Askey has voted with the majority of the commission in two thirds of the cases, he said.
Leibowitz questioned the ISU's characterization of Askey's voting record. The cold-rolled case involved a 5-1 negative determination, with Askey being one of five commissioners voting in the negative, Leibowitz said. "She's not their problem," he commented.
CITAC is committed to the development of U.S. trade policy consistent with consuming industries' needs.