CITAC STEEL TASK FORCE: STEEL CONSUMERS TELL PRESIDENT BUSH TO "TERMINATE THE TARIFFS!"
International Trade Commission (ITC) Mid-Point Review
On Steel Tariffs Reveals Damage to Steel Consumers and the Economy
Washington, DC: Responding today to the International Trade Commission's (ITC) mid-point review of the Section 201 steel tariffs, and the Section 332 study of the effects of the steel tariffs on steel-consuming industries in the U.S., members of the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition Steel Task Force (CITAC STF) urged President Bush to consider the ITC's finding of damage to the economy and terminate the steel tariffs as soon as possible.
CITAC STF members asked President Bush to closely review the 332 study, "Steel-Consuming Industries: Competitive Conditions with Respect to Steel Safeguard Measures," which outlined the damage done to steel consumers. The steel safeguard measures resulted in increased prices, and a net loss to United States businesses of some $680 million in decreased returns on capital and labor in steel consuming industries (see Table 4-3 of the 332 study). Nearly half the 485 questionnaire responses reported significant declines in the availability and quality of steel in the year following the imposition of the tariffs. Nearly one-quarter of responding firms reported that their customers shifted to offshore sourcing in the first year of the tariffs (37 percent of metal fabricators reported this shift).
"The report confirms what we have been saying for a year and a half: small steel-consuming manufacturers are being forced to lay off workers and move production out of the U.S. because of the higher cost and reduced availability of steel. Many thousands of jobs have been lost, and the economy as a whole has been damaged," said William E. Gaskin, CITAC STF Chairman and President of Precision Metalforming Association.
"The 332 study's Executive Summary doesn't capture the full scale of the damage caused by the steel tariffs. The substance of the report supports what we've been saying all along: the steel tariffs are dragging down the economy and need to go." said Lewis Leibowitz, Counsel to the CITAC Steel Task Force.
Leibowitz continued, "Now the evidence we have awaited for so long is in. We urge President Bush to consider the ITC report on the effects of the steel tariffs on consumers and terminate these damaging tariffs as soon as possible. Removing the steel tariffs is a real solution to stem the flow of manufacturing outside the country and to help the economy."
Steel consuming manufacturing representatives across the country also reacted to the ITC's report today. "I testified before the ITC this summer and told them how damaging the steel tariffs have been. For me, and for other steel consumers I know, it's been a tremendously difficult time since March 2002 when the tariffs were imposed," 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. "We just can't be competitive with the steel tariffs in place. I hope the President determines when he looks at this report that there are far more steel consuming companies being hurt than steel producers being helped. Now, the proof is clear, and it's simple math. We need to stop the tariffs."
Leibowitz summarized the decision facing the President. "The President's decision has three major aspects: legal, political and economic," Leibowitz said. "Legally, the President has ample authority to terminate the tariffs if he chooses to do so. Politically, the situation is much different that it was last year, especially for retired steel workers. Economically, the decision is a no-brainer: the tariffs will do much more harm than good if they are continued."
The ITC report is available at http://www.usitc.gov/.
CITAC is a coalition of companies and organizations committed to promoting a trade arena where U.S. consuming industries have access to global markets for imports that enhance the international competitiveness of American firms. The CITAC Steel Task Force is comprised of steel consumers working to achieve the termination of the 201 steel tariffs by mid-point review and reform U.S. trade laws and policies to benefit U.S. steel consumers.