February 21, 2018

Duckworth Urges Trump Administration to Crack Down on Unfair Trade Practices That Are Devastating America’s Steel Industry

New Commerce Dept investigation found foreign steel is weakening national security & causing real economic hardship


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) urged the Trump Administration to take swift action to crack down on unfair trade practices like the illegal dumping of foreign-made steel products, which is devastating America’s steel industry. The U.S. Commerce Department recently completed an investigation into how foreign-made steel is impacting our national security that found that the importation of excessive foreign steel at discounted prices is weakening our national defense and our economy. Since 2000, 50% 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% since 1998. As a result, the Commerce Department recommended the President reduce the amount of foreign steel that’s being imported, which Duckworth strongly supports, with exceptions for products that are not available in the United States.

“America’s steel industry is critical for our national security and defense – and it provides good-paying jobs for hardworking Americans across our country. But in recent years, illegal dumping of foreign steel has forced American companies to lower production and shutter factories in places like Granite City, Illinois, which has left hardworking Americans struggling to provide for their families,” said Senator Duckworth. “For the sake of our national security and for workers in Granite City and at steel mills across Illinois and our country, it’s past time the President took action to level the playing field for our domestic steel industry. American manufacturers that both produce and depend on steel must be able to create good-paying jobs at home and increase domestic production.”

In December, Duckworth and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) urged the Commerce Department to quickly complete its 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. The U.S. currently imports nearly four times as much steel as it exports. Duckworth and Durbin also encouraged the Commerce Department in April, 2017 – several weeks before the Commerce Department launched its investigation – 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 also led a letter with 10 other Senators urging President Trump to protect American jobs by ensuring all new pipelines – if approved – are constructed and maintained with American-made products and equipment.

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 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.