CITAC STEEL TASK FORCE MEMBERS URGE
Wide Range of Sectors Cite Damage from Section 201 Steel Tariffs
Washington, DC Members of the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) Steel Task Force spoke forcefully today in a meeting called by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), joining other NAM members to voice their concerns about the severe impact of the Section 201 steel tariffs across manufacturing sectors, and to urge NAM to take a position on the steel issue.
NAM is the largest association of manufacturers in the United States and had previously taken a neutral position on the issue of the 201 steel tariffs. However, following numerous requests from NAM members who are suffering from the impact of the tariffs, NAM's Trade and Technology Policy Group issued a resolution on October 16 announcing a process to reconsider its "hands-off" position on the steel tariffs, and "develop a policy position on steel trade that is appropriate for all constituencies."
Today's meeting of the NAM International Economic Policy Committee was called to hear input from both steel users and steel producers.
Manufacturers from the auto parts, stamping, appliance, plastic, lawn furniture, and fastener industry (which includes the aerospace, military and homegoods industries), presented evidence at the meeting that the tariffs are causing damage to the U.S. economy.
"The presentations clearly laid out that the steel tariffs are damaging a wide-range of manufacturers," said Wes Smith, President and CEO of E&E Manufacturing Company in Plymouth, Michigan, a supplier of metal stampings and fasteners for the automotive market. Smith, a Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) and Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) member, came to Washington because of frustration with the damage to manufacturers caused by the steel tariffs.
"The domestic steel industry keeps repeating that the steel tariffs aren't hurting anyone, hoping that if they say it enough, people will believe them. But evidence points to a serious crisis in manufacturing sectors because of the steel tariffs."
NAM policy, developed in 1998, directs that the association not take a position on specific U.S. tariffs or import problems unless there are "overriding considerations of general importance to American industry." NAM has agreed to discuss whether "overriding considerations" are present in the case of steel.
"The evidence was clear today that the problems caused by the steel tariffs amount to much more than 'a sectoral dispute,'" said Smith. "The combination of 30 to 40 percent higher prices, and the movement of customers overseas due to the tariffs, is going to decimate a number of manufacturing sectors if something isn't done soon," said Smith.
The policy committee will develop a recommendation for consideration by the Board of Directors. Another meeting will be held in December and NAM is expected to announce a decision shortly thereafter.
Smith concluded, "Steel producers and steel consumers were in the same room together trying to determine an acceptable position on the steel tariffs for U.S. manufacturers. It was a good first step, and I'm pleased that NAM is moving forward on the issue."