ILLINOIS-AREA COMPANIES TO REP. HYDE:
STEEL TARIFFS THREATEN LOCAL ECONOMY
Addison, IL - Illinois members of the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) Steel Task Force met yesterday with Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL-6) to detail the serious and growing crisis they are facing as a result of the 201 tariffs on steel imports imposed by the Bush Administration.
Steel-consuming company representatives of CITAC and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), met with Rep. Hyde in his district office to discuss the problems they are experiencing with inadequate steel supplies and price gouging by domestic steel producers, and competitive threats that they are facing from overseas manufacturers.
"I wanted the Congressman to know that the tariffs imposed by President Bush have caused havoc at our company," said Edward Farrer of Olson International in Lombard, Illinois. Farrer's company produces metal components used for air bags and other safety products.
"We met with Congressman Hyde because our choice of suppliers has diminished, we have seen some deliveries running as late as eight weeks past the promise date and we are rejecting more material due to mill defects. In order to protect our customers' supplies we have paid premiums of steel in excess of 70%, "said Farrer. "The tariffs are impeding our growth, our profits and ability to service our customers. If something is not resolved soon, our industry will be damaged forever."
In Illinois, there are approximately 647,000 steel-consuming jobs and 20,000 steel-producing jobs, or 33 steel-consuming jobs for every one steel-producing job. In Rep. Hyde's district, there are nearly 295,000 steel-consuming jobs and 8,200 steel producing jobs- a ratio of 36 to 1.
Another participant in yesterday's meeting was Paul Rimington, Chief Executive Officer for Diemasters Manufacturing in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, which manufactures precision metal parts and components in industries ranging from electrical and automotive, to telecommunications and power equipment. According to Rimington, Mexico and China are now able to offer even more competitive prices than his company can and many of his customers are going overseas.
"We are being penalized with the increased steel prices from the tariffs. It is terribly, terribly frustrating," said Rimington.
Since March, Rimington has lost eight percent of his business to foreign manufacturers, and says, "we'll never get that back." "We have been turned upside down. We are just trying to survive, day by day."
The meeting with Rep. Hyde is one of a series of Congressional meetings held by consumers to inform their representatives of the unintended negative effects of the steel tariffs. Yesterday's visit follows the July 23 House of Representatives 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 Administration's 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 about the government's efforts to meet the needs of small businesses, including local steel consumers who have been impacted by the 201 tariffs.
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.