Duckworth & Durbin Urge Commerce Department to Complete Investigation on Foreign Steel’s Impact on National Security
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging the Commerce Department to quickly complete its investigation on how foreign-made steel imports impact national security. In the eight months since the Commerce Department launched its investigation, foreign steel imports have surged by 21%, causing further damage to America's steel industry, which has been devastated by unfair trade practices like illegal steel dumping.
"Despite promises from you and the President that the Administration would complete this investigation on an expedited timeline by June, eight months have passed and the investigation has yet to conclude," wrote the Senators. "Your delay in completing this important investigation has had real negative impacts on our economy. This is unacceptable. The Administration must act now to ensure that America's manufacturing workers and companies are viable and ready to meet future national security challenges."
Illinois continues to be affected by the dumping of foreign-made steel into the United States. In 2015, the Granite City Works plant, a steel producer in Granite City, Illinois, was forced to partially idle production - leading to the layoff of 2,000 employees, which has had a devastating impact on the local economy. Currently, Illinois' steel industry supports 64,000 jobs, including over 9,400 jobs at steel mills, which could be at risk if the Trump administration does not take action to curb illegal steel dumping. As a result of the Commerce Department's investigation, foreign competitors have flooded the U.S. steel market in anticipation of restrictions passing, which has had a significant negative impact on the economy and caused real economic hardship.
Duckworth and Durbin first wrote to Secretary Ross in April - several weeks before the Commerce Department launched its investigation - urging him to crack down on the unfair trade practices that are threatening America's steel industry and strengthen protections against the dumping of foreign-made steel in American markets. Duckworth and Durbin have also called on President Trump, urging him to protect American jobs by ensuring all new pipelines - if approved - are constructed and maintained with American-made products and equipment.
Full text of the Senator's letter is available below and online here.
The Honorable Wilbur Ross
United States Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Mr. Secretary:
We write to urge you to conclude the Department's Section 232 investigation assessing the impact of steel imports on our national security as soon as possible. We viewed your announcement of this investigation in April as an important step in your commitment to protect American jobs. However, despite promises from you and the President that the Administration would complete this investigation on an expedited timeline by June, eight months have passed and the investigation has yet to conclude. We are concerned that the Administration's lack of decisive and prompt action has only caused further damage to the domestic steel industry and created uncertainty in the market.
In the interim, as foreign competitors have anticipated that the Administration will follow through on promises to take action to provide relief to domestic steel producers, steel imports have surged 21 percent. Your delay in completing this important investigation has had real negative impacts on our economy. This is unacceptable. The Administration must act now to ensure that America's manufacturing workers and companies are viable and ready to meet future national security challenges.
As you know, steel is critical to our nation's defense industrial base and our infrastructure. Steel production is also a key component of our nation's economic health. It is a major source of employment throughout the country and in our home state of Illinois, where the steel industry supports an estimated 64,000 jobs, including over 9,400 jobs at our steel mills. As we have discussed on numerous occasions, the devastating impact of illegal steel imports has been felt in Illinois, where the Granite City Works plant was forced to partially idle its production, resulting in a layoff of 2,000 employees in December 2015. The impacts of idled production had devastating impacts to the local economy, impacting suppliers, finishers, and other companies that support the Granite City mill, like Stein Steel Services and Tube City, where good paying jobs were also lost and have not yet been recovered.
We also urge you to make your review process in the Section 232 investigation more transparent. It is important that our domestic stakeholders are made aware of the timing and process of your report, as well as your conclusions and recommendations, in as timely a manner as possible. Additionally, any final recommendation or action by your Administration should make sure that both U.S. steel manufacturers and their downstream consumers are able to create American jobs and increase domestic production as a result of your investigation.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this request, and we look forward to your response.
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