March 08, 2018

Duckworth Statement on Trump Administration’s Actions on Steel & Aluminum


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement regarding President Trump signing an executive order imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports:

“I have long called on the President to protect hardworking families and level the playing field for American steelworkers and I support the goal of what he is trying to achieve. I also welcome the news that hundreds of steelworkers are going back to work in Granite City after being laid off more than two years ago.

“However, I am alarmed by the President’s haphazard announcement and reckless threats about trade wars, which are causing chaos and confusion in other American industries while creating barriers for key allies and trading partners who play by the rules. It’s not clear that these broad tariffs will ultimately benefit the American workforce, economy or consumers in the long run.

“When it comes to American jobs and our economy the President needs to act strategically, not recklessly, and he needs to make sure that his actions support, instead of undermine, American manufacturers that both produce and depend on steel and aluminum.”

Illinois has been particularly hard hit 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 roughly 2,300 employees, which has had a devastating impact on the local economy. Duckworth has visited Granite City to meet with some of the steelworkers who lost their jobs when the plant idled just after Christmas, 2015. 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.

Since she was elected to the U.S. Senate, Duckworth has repeatedly urged the Trump administration to crack down on unfair trade practices like the illegal dumping of foreign-made steel products, which have been devastating America’s steel industry. Since 2000, 50 percent of America’s basic oxygen furnace steel-producing facilities have either closed or been idled – and employment in the U.S. steel industry has dropped by 35 percent since 1998.

Duckworth, along with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), urged the Commerce Department in April 2017 – several weeks before the Department launched its investigation – to strengthen protections against the dumping of foreign-made steel in American markets that are threatening America’s steel industry. After the Trump administration dragged out the investigation, Duckworth and Durbin wrote to the Secretary of Commerce in December to encourage him to quickly complete the investigation, citing how foreign steel imports surged by 21% in the eight months since the Commerce Department announced it would study how illegal steel dumping is impacting our national security. Duckworth also toured Zekelman Industries’ Wheatland Tube Company, a steel pipe and tubing manufacturer in Chicago, last month and held a town hall with employees to discuss the Commerce Department’s investigation.