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Dara Klatt

March 21, 2003


The PBN Company







Washington, DC: Responding to today's announcement by the U.S. Trade Representative's office and the U.S. Department of Commerce of the next round of Section 201 steel tariff exclusion requests, William E. Gaskin, Chairman of the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition Steel Task Force (CITAC STF), stated that exclusions will benefit some steel consumers but warned that the exclusion process has failed to solve the primary concern for the majority of small- and medium-sized steel-consuming businesses in the U.S.: reliable and competitively priced steel.

"Virtually every steel consuming company needs competitively priced steel, at the right time, the right supply, and with a consistent quality. Exclusions do not address these basic needs for steel consumers," said Gaskin. "The primary objective for steel consumers is to satisfy customer demands and exclusions simply do not get to the heart of the problem, because they do not help to keep prices at globally competitive levels."

295 products were excluded today by USTR and Commerce on the grounds that "they are not currently available in sufficient quantities from U.S. producers and that excluding these product would not undermine the effectiveness of the safeguard on steel products." A total of 661 exclusion requests were received. According to government sources, the exclusions cover about 400,000 tons of steel, about 10 percent of the amount requested. Another exclusion process will begin this November.

Gaskin stated that there are many flaws with the exclusion process. While exclusions may benefit a few steel consumers, they don't apply to small and "middle market" steel consumers who buy steel from service centers. The process is also complex - some steel consumers don't even consider filing for an exclusion because the process is so complex and detailed. Another flaw is that exclusions also do not address the problems faced by those steel consumers who buy steel products from domestic sources.

"The tariffs had an impact on all steel, both imported and domestic. The result is that steel consumers who buy 100 percent of their steel from U.S. steel producers also experienced price hikes, shortages and long lead times. Exclusions do nothing to help these steel consumers," stated Gaskin.

"The exclusion process is not a substitute for resolving the challenges faced by steel consumers as a result of the tariffs," he stated. "Steel consumers who are continuing to suffer from prices and supply shortages from the steel tariffs should not have to come to Washington to buy steel. We urge the Bush Administration to terminate the tariffs as soon as possible."

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.

The CITAC Steel Task Force is comprised of steel using companies working to achieve the termination of the 201 steel tariffs as soon as possible and reform U.S. trade laws and policies to benefit steel consumers.





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