Tags: Donald Trump | Trump | steel | tariffs

Union Chief: Trump's Right, Without Steel You Don't Have a Country

Image: Union Chief: Trump's Right, Without Steel You Don't Have a Country

Leo W. Gerard (Provided)

By    |   Friday, 09 March 2018 01:02 PM

The steel and aluminum sectors have been under attack by predatory trade practices. For too long, our political leaders have talked about the problem, but have largely left enforcement of our trade laws up to the private sector. This is not what hard-working Americans want from their government.

They expect national security, the foundation of which is built with steel and aluminum, to be protected.

President Trump initiated action to investigate the impact of aluminum and steel imports on our national security. We applaud his action and appreciate the attention that this issue has received in recent months. Comprehensive reports were sent to the White House and released to the public. They validated what we already knew: these sectors are critical to our nation.

Workers across the country have raised their voices in calling for the need of action to ensure that our aluminum and steel sectors can survive. Our members have actively fought for action. Their voices have been echoed by a broad, bipartisan cross-section of Congress. They were joined by many of their colleagues and officials at the state and local level. Every call, letter, meeting and discussion focused on building a better America.

The question for some time has been what action to take. The president announced that he wants to impose tariffs at a level of 10 percent on aluminum imports and 25 percent on steel.

For the USW, the objective always has been to restore market-based economics that ensure that our domestic producers can achieve a fair return as they invest in facilities, equipment and people, and contribute to the strength of our nation. The objective also should be to reduce the negative impact of steel and aluminum imports that have decimated production in the United States. The tariff levels the president announced will help to achieve that objective.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Ambassador and U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, and White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro have been working hard to achieve the president’s goals on trade. As the administration puts together the finer details, we will work with them. It will be critical to focus attention on the countries that have created the problem, and that do not participate in helping to promote a solution.

Canada is not the problem. The United States and Canada have integrated manufacturing markets and our union represents trade-impacted workers in both nations. In addition, the defense and intelligence relationship between the countries is unique and integral to our security.

Any solution must exempt Canadian production. At the same time, Canada must commit to robust enforcement and enhance its cooperation to address global overcapacity in steel and aluminum.

Just one week after President Trump announced the new tariffs on steel and aluminum, U.S. Steel announced it would call back 500 workers and restart one of its two blast furnaces at its Granite City, Ill., facility.

This is good news for the workers, for the company, and for the entire community of Granite City

Perhaps no steel town in the country is as closely identified with its mill as the town of Granite City is with the historic Granite City Works. We hope this restart will breathe new life into the community, and that the mill can continue to provide good jobs for workers and their families for generations to come.

Workers across the United States, especially those in steel towns like Granite City, have for too long been the victims of the illegal and unfair practices of our overseas trading partners, particularly China. Our hope is that this marks the beginning of a much-needed recovery for the domestic steel industry and for American manufacturing.

Now, we need to work to finalize the design of relief and implement it. We are more than willing to work with the administration to ensure that nations that cheat on trade are held accountable, so that we can rebuild America’s manufacturing sector.

Leo W. Gerard is the International President of the United Steelworkers (USW), a union that represents over 850,000 workers in North America. For more information visit www.usw.org.

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President Trump initiated action to investigate the impact of aluminum and steel imports on our national security. We applaud his action and appreciate the attention that this issue has received in recent months.
Trump, steel, tariffs
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2018-02-09
Friday, 09 March 2018 01:02 PM
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