Worcester, MA - Members of the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) Steel Task Force met yesterday in Worcester with Congressman James P. McGovern to detail the serious and growing crisis they are facing as a result of the 201 tariffs on steel imports.
Meeting with Rep. McGovern in his District office while Congress is in recess, steel-consuming company representatives of the CITAC and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), spoke to him about inadequate steel supplies, price gouging and competitive threats that they are experiencing from competing products.
"I wanted the Congressman to consider that steel-consuming companies and their suppliers are really being hurt by the tariffs," said Michael Chessock of Bohler-Uddeholm Corp.-Northeast Region. Chessockis company manufactures specialty steel for the stamping industry, which is a critical component needed for making tools, molds and dies.
"We met with Congressman McGovern to support our customers who are metalformers," said Chessock. "They are paying very high prices and still canit get the steel they need when they need it. If they donit get a break from the tariffs, theyill stop buying our products, and weill lose business and jobs like many others in our communities. The steel tariffs are hurting many more companies and many more workers than they could ever help."
Another participant in yesterdayis meeting was Mike Misicka, Purchasing Manager for Larson Tool and Stamping Company. A major part of his company's production is fire extinguisher cylinders. The manufacturing process requires stringent inspection and testing procedures, and for this particular product, "foreign steel has consistently been the best steel," according to Misicka.
Forced now to use domestic steel, Misicka says that, "we normally experience a rejection rate under 1 percent with the French material, but the domestics are commonly 2-5 percent. Sometimes domestic steel will not run at all." That creates delays in the production schedule and adds to the already skyrocketing costs for this family-owned company of eighty-five employees.
"I very much appreciated meeting with these business leaders and hearing their concerns," Rep. McGovern said. "This is a very complex issue, and it's important for me and other members of Congress to hear all sides."
The meeting with Rep. McGovern follows the July 23rd Small Business Committee Hearing held by Chairman Donald Manzullo (R-IL) in which CITAC member companies testified about steel shortages and massive price increases caused by the 201 steel tariffs. Chairman Manzullo invited the steel users to testify before the Committee after receiving more than a hundred letters from downstream users suffering serious dislocations from the Bush Administrationis decision to impose up to 30% tariffs on imported steel.
Similarly, on September 3, the House Small Business Committee will hold a field hearing near Los Angeles to hear from area businesses including local steel consumers.
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 American firms.