Chesterton Tribune

ITC continues tariffs on cuttolength steel plate from Korea

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United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo Gerard confirmed today that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) voted unanimously on Monday to continue tariffs on cut-to-length steel plate (CTLP) imports from Korea, India, and Indonesia for another five years, while revoking the orders for plate from Japan and Italy.

According to the ITC, the existing antidumping and countervailing duty orders on steel plate from the three countries is being maintained because ending the tariffs would likely lead to recurrence of material injury. The duties were first placed on steel plate imports in 1999 and a first sunset review was held in 2005. The vote was a second review as required by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.

Gerard noted that each of the steel producing countries argued for ending the tariffs but said that the ITC’s strong vote demonstrates the domestic industry’s ongoing efforts to recover from a weak market. “Five American steel producers operating plate mills in seven states and employing about 4,000 steelworkers were threatened if the duty orders were not kept in place,” Gerard said.

Gerard commended the delegation of 17 USW steelworkers who make plate at mills in Pennsylvania and Indiana for attending the ITC sunset review hearing in Washington, D.C. this past October. Gerard also praised in particular the testimony of USW Local 6787 Vice President Pete Trinidad..

“The last decade has been a real roller coaster ride for our members who make cut-to-length plate,” Trinidad testified at the time. “They have faced bankruptcies, plant closures, layoffs, forced retirements, lost wages, and reductions in pension and health care benefits.”

Trinidad also reported to the ITC that plate orders gradually picked up in May 2010, showing the importance of the import tariffs. In August of this year, Trinidad noted, a second crew was hired but new demand has not yet developed. “Every ton of dumped plate that is allowed to enter our market is a ton of plate that steelworkers at Burns Harbor won’t get to make,” he testified.

 

Posted 12/6/2011