CITAC URGES NO NEW STEEL IMPORT BARRIERS
Washington, DC - Lewis Leibowitz, Counsel to the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC), today urged the Bush Administration to avoid tariffs or other steel trade restrictions in the 201 Safeguard process.
"Domestic steel-using manufacturers want a remedy that addresses the underlying problems of integrated domestic steel producers without threatening America's downstream steel users and American consumers," said Leibowitz, speaking at a press briefing for the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) annual meeting.
"As we have often said, imports are the result, not the cause, of the domestic industry's ills, and import restrictions will not make U.S. integrated producers competitive. It will only hurt downstream industries in their efforts to maintain and enhance their global competitiveness. We support efforts to restructure the domestic industry and ensure that truly competitive firms can and do survive in the United States. But this cannot take place at the expense of downstream industries."
In testimony before the ITC on November 9, Leibowitz gave four reasons the proposals for tariffs, quotas and floor prices as remedies are doomed to fail: 1) the plan proposed by U.S. integrated producers will do more harm than good; 2) four years of restrictions, as requested by domestic producers, will likely lead to demands for compensation by U.S. trading partners; 3) integrated producers, as they have in the past, will not stop with four years of restrictions, but will attempt to extend the restrictions further; and 4) maximum tariffs are certain to be challenged in the WTO and likely to be found inconsistent with America's international obligations.
"We agree with our colleagues at AIIS and the National Free Trade in Steel Coalition that protection leads to adverse consequences for American businesses that depend on open markets and we support trade agreements and negotiations, such as the Doha round, that will lead to better, more open trading relationships," said Leibowitz.
He also commended the Bush Administration for the success of the Doha ministerial and urged Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority "as the only available tool to facilitate international trade negotiations."
"The recent Doha Ministerial launched a negotiating Round that can help people all over the world to develop. In the United States, the most competitive nation in the world, we need to lead the way to more open commerce. In particular, CITAC commends the Bush Administration for making a politically difficult but necessary decision to negotiate international rules on anti-dumping and countervailing duties. The U.S. law in this area is in need of review. It often treats U.S. consuming industries unfairly or, just as bad, ignores them entirely."
CITAC is a coalition of companies and organizations committed to promoting a trade arena where U.S. consuming industries and their workers have access to global markets for imports that enhance the international competitiveness of U.S. firms.