The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington
April 28, 2003
"High tariffs hurt steel consuming companies"
Your recent editorial supporting steel tariffs ignored the consequences of tariffs on the steel industry's customers the millions of American workers who are employed by steel consuming companies. It is not foreign steel companies who must deal with the consequences of trade protectionism, it is American steel consuming companies.
Since the imposition of the tariffs, many American steel consumers, those that use steel to make products for industries such as automotive, lawn and garden and appliances, have been devastated including many businesses in West Virginia. A recent Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition study on job losses in steel consuming sectors, showed that 200,000 Americans were unemployed in 2002 as a result of steel price hikes, caused in significant part by tariffs.
Approximately 98 percent of these steel consuming companies are small- or medium-sized businesses. These companies compete with global competitors who enjoy advantages in labor costs and other factors.
American steel consumers have never received government protection. But as a result of the tariffs, steel price hikes and supply problems have forced these steel consuming companies to choose between closing up shop or, if possible, moving their facilities overseas. Either way, American workers lose out.
Washington must choose between crafting a steel policy that treats American steel producing jobs and American steel consuming jobs as equally important or continuing a policy of steel protectionism that has proved ineffective for more than 30 years.
Consuming Industries Trade Action
Coalition Steel Task Force