Springfield, IL – State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) has sponsored a resolution calling on President Obama and Congress to block importation of steel that violates international trade agreements on prices.
Hoffman’s House Resolution 1138 passed the House International Trade and Commerce Committee unanimously and now awaits consideration by the full House.
“Our federal government needs to do more to protect the interests of American employees and families,” Hoffman said. “Granite City Steel and steel mills across the country are laying off workers or shutting down because the illegal imports of foreign steel are undercutting domestic prices and producers.”
Hoffman said dumping foreign steel into the U.S. violates Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, which states that foreign products cannot be introduced into the commerce of another country at a value less than the product’s normal price in the country.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has used Article VI to investigate and take anti-dumping measures against nations, but the process of identifying and investigating violations is slow. While investigations are ongoing, American workers are being laid off.
“The import of foreign steel at unfair prices violates international trade agreements and must be stopped,” Hoffman said. “The federal government needs to take more aggressive action to stop the international trade violations that are damaging our economy and putting the middle class out of work.”
United Steelworkers of America and the Illinois AFL-CIO support the resolution, as do U.S. Steel, Nucor Steel and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
Hoffman said the resolution is a response to the poor condition of the U.S. steel market and resulting layoffs at the Granite City Steel. Last year, Granite City Steel laid off more than 2,000 employees. The layoffs resulted from an abundance of imported steel in the U.S. market.
Foreign steel is produced at lower prices and is frequently subsidized by foreign governments and then brought to the U.S. and sold at prices much lower than domestic steel.