The Honorable Donald J. Trump
The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing you as members of the Board of the American Institute for International Steel which represents 120 companies across the entire steel supply chain. This supply chain encompasses thousands of our country’s union and non-union stevedores that handle our countries steel imports and exports as well as the tens of thousands of American workers in the vast transportation, warehousing and fabrication sectors, Customs brokerage and insurance companies and perhaps most critically our country’s blue and brown water ports.
The purpose of this letter is to respectfully request the termination to the Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 investigation purportedly to prevent excess steel capacity and surging steel imports from undermining the viability of the U.S. steel industry in the interest of National security. The facts of the matter are the United States steel industry is already the most protected industry sector in the United States as evidenced by having the majority of all anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on the Federal Register today. In addition, the overall domestic steel industry has been profitable, according to Department of Commerce data, since 2009. Any further restrictions on steel imports beyond the existing trade laws will result in global retaliation well outside the steel realm and be severely detrimental to our country’s improving GDP that we are enjoying under your Administrations leadership.
As just one example of this, we are attaching our recent and independently developed impact study by the well-respected economic analysis firm Martin Associates, that factually highlights the 1.3 million U.S. port and maritime specifically targeted jobs that would be damaged by additional imported steel restrictions, and that does not include all the unintended consequences in additional jobs, revenue and taxes beyond steel that would be put at risk. Add to that already voiced retaliation against our critically important agricultural sector, and the negative ramifications of any Section 232 action loom monumental.
As noted in a recent Global Trade magazine article that asked “So how is the steel industry in the United States doing? Many companies are doing quite well“, it points out. It goes on to show the previously mentioned Commerce Department’s data on the profitability of the six largest domestic steel producers—AK Steel, Carpenter Technology, Commercial Metals, Nucor, Steel Dynamics and US Steel—and its recent report from April of this year, shows that four of the six producers are currently profitable and that the industry has been profitable overall since 2009.
In the first quarter of 2017, five of the six companies returned total profits of $696 million. Even considering US Steel’s loss, the industry’s net profit was $515 million for the quarter.
In short Mr. President, our Institute absolutely respects the need for a strong domestic steel industry, but similarly respectfully submits that providing even more protection for a market that historically needs imported steel is not the prudent path to take. As it is, 19.6% on average of all steel imports are being consistently imported by our country’s steel mills themselves in the form of semi-finished products. Let us not attempt to protect the few at the expense of many and terminate the Section 232 investigation now, and keep our country’s ports and associated American workers in the national steel supply chain working.
The American Institute for International Steel, Inc.