EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan said Tuesday that while he was encouraged by the actions of President Barack Obama supporting the U.S. steel industry in direct talks with Chinese officials at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, additional action is necessary.
“While President Obama and other world leaders pressure the Chinese and several other countries on illegal trade practices and illegal government subsidies, the fact remains that more than 1,500 workers at U.S. Steel’s idled Granite City Mill are still out of work,” Dunstan said.
According to Dunstan, one action that would go a long way to equalize the steel industry playing field would be an affirmative vote by the U.S. International Trade Commission on the seven-nation hot-rolled steel trade case. An announcement of the commission’s decision is expected today.
“The Department of Commerce found seven countries unfairly dumped hot-rolled steel in the U.S. marketplace and imposed high tariffs on those countries,” Dunstan said. “A USITC affirmation of that decision, combined with increased pressure from President Obama and other world leaders, would go a long way toward getting our mills up and running and the men and women who make the finest steel in the world back on the job.”
The trade case, filed by six U.S. steel companies in August 2015, charged producers in Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom with violating international trade laws by improperly subsidizing their steel producers and by dumping hot-rolled steel at below market prices in the U.S. market.
At the G20 Summit, the president was joined by British Prime Minister Theresa May in soliciting a pledge from G20 leaders to work together to address excess steel capacity.
Dunstan also again called for an extension of the unemployment benefits for laid-off steelworkers.
“Many of the steelworkers have or are close to exhausting their unemployment eligibility,” he said. “I would hope their unemployment benefits will be extended.”