Trade remedies for steel and aluminum are long overdue

Robert E. Scott

Robert E. Scott Senior Economist and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute

The Commerce Department today released public summaries of the reports on its investigations into the impact on national security from imports of steel and aluminum products. The Department found that steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security.” The reports recommend alternative remedies that can be used to return domestic steel and aluminum industries to full health (with 80 percent operating capacity), in each case.

The United States should impose strong restrictions on imports of steel and aluminum, and should work with other nations to develop coordinated responses to excess capacity and unfair trade in these products.

Each report recommends three alternative sets of remedies to help restore domestic production and employment, ranging from global tariffs, to a mix of tariffs targeted on countries responsible for excess capacity and unfair trade (e.g. China, Brazil, India, Korea, Turkey, Vietnam, and others in steel) and quotas for other countries, and finally, global quotas on imports. These remedies are long overdue. President Trump promised quick action when these studies were ordered nearly one year ago. Delays have heightened the import crisis for thousands of U.S. steel and aluminum industry workers.

These reports are under review by the president, who must make final decisions about steel and aluminum trade remedies by April 11 and April 19, 2018, respectively. The president may take a range of actions, may modify the proposed actions, or take no action at all.

The crisis in steel and aluminum trade is driven by the development of massive amounts of excess production capacity, resulting in import dumping originating in China and a limited number of other countries that are singled out for higher tariffs in the reports’ most aggressive remedy proposal. In remarks to the press on release of these reports, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross indicated that the release of the reports was designed to encourage other countries to join the United States in coming up with stronger measures to force China to curb its overcapacity.

The United States should use the opportunity provided by the release of these reports to develop a common, multinational response to the problems of excess capacity in steel and aluminum. The United States should take the lead in setting strong, effective restrictions on steel and aluminum imports, especially from unfair trading countries, and it should work with other nations to enact similar restrictions on a cooperative basis.


Reposted from the EPI

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Human Service Workers at Persad Center Vote to Join the USW

From the USW

Workers at Persad Center, a human service organization that serves the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities of the Pittsburgh area, voted last week to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The unit of 24 workers, ranging from therapists and program coordinators to case managers and administrative staff, announced their union campaign as the Persad Staff Union last month and filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“We care about our work and the communities we serve,” said Johanna Smith, Persad’s Development, Communications, and Events Associate. “We strongly believe this work and our connections to our clients will only improve now that we will be represented by a union.”

The Persad workers join the growing number of white-collar professionals organizing with the USW, especially in the Pittsburgh region. Their membership is also in line with the recent work the Steelworkers have been doing to engage LGBTQ+ members and improve contract language regarding issues that affect their lives.

“Workplaces are changing and evolving, and the labor movement is changing and evolving along with that,” said USW Vice President Fred Redmond, who oversees the union’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee as well as the USW Health Care Workers Council. “This campaign gives us an opportunity to diversify our great union while uplifting and empowering a group of workers who give their all for others.”


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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work