Lawmakers, Steelworkers Double Down On Calls For Chinese Steel Investigation

May 23, 2016

ArcelorMittal
Credit Annie Ropeik, IPB News

Governor Mike Pence is backing U.S. Steel in calls for an investigation into China’s steel industry.

That’s after the federal government imposed new tariffs on China last week — a move some steelworkers say doesn’t go far enough.

Last month, U.S. Steel asked the U.S. International Trade Commission for a total ban on Chinese steel imports, saying practices overseas have cost thousands of American jobs.

China outpaces the U.S. 10 to 1 in steel production, using government subsidies to stay afloat even while losing money exporting the excess.

“Steel mills here in the U.S. can’t compete, so then in response they end up laying off people here,” says United Steelworkers trustee Pete Trinidad. He’s also a union boss at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor steel plant in Lake County.

Trinidad says news the U.S. would impose a 522 percent tax on Chinese steel won’t solve the problem.

“We need to expose China for what they’re really doing,” he says — for instance, stealing trade secrets and fixing prices, which all could factor into a Trade Commission investigation. Still, U.S. Steel will have to prove Chinese practices directly caused American layoffs if they want the case to proceed.

More than 100 elected officials nationwide, including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-1st District) and six state lawmakers, have voiced support for that effort.