Byrd lauds keeping steel-import duties

Byrd again!

See our Big Byrd article a few weeks back.

The Charleston Gazette – News

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., last week praised the U.S. International Trade Commission for its decision to continue imposing import duties on nations that subsidize their steel exports or dump steel on U.S. markets at prices below costs of production.

Last month, Byrd testified before the ITC, asking commissioners to retain duties on certain foreign imports of hot-rolled steel products.

The ITC voted 4-2 on Thursday to retain duties on steel imported from Brazil, Japan, Russia and several other countries for the next five years.

Cheap foreign steel contributed to the bankruptcies of more than 40 steel companies in the past 10 years and led to the layoffs of tens of thousands of steelworkers, including workers in the Northern Panhandle.

But Lewis Leibowitz, a lawyer for steel-consuming industries organized as the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC), criticized the commission.

“Steel consumers in the United States need access to stable, adequate supplies of globally priced steel,� Leibowitz said. “The ITC decision ensures that they will continue to suffer from high prices, long lead times and quality problems.�

CITAC’s Steel Task Force believes the ITC should consider the impact of import duties on consumers and the economy as a whole.

Byrd stressed that continued import duties are a key to preserving our domestic steel industry.

“Steel is essential to our economic well-being, and that is particularly true in West Virginia,� he said. “Our steelworkers are from Weirton and Wheeling, from Follansbee and Beech Bottom, from Huntington, from Parkersburg, and from elsewhere in the state.

“They deserve to have a fair opportunity to compete. To do that, it is up to the federal government to ensure that our trade laws are enforced. We cannot allow our trade laws to be broken by foreign trading partners who refuse to play by the rules.�

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