Steel Industry Cries Foul: Seeks U.S. Protection from Import Dumping

By Selinger, Marc | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 1, 1998 | Go to article overview

Steel Industry Cries Foul: Seeks U.S. Protection from Import Dumping


Selinger, Marc, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The U.S. steel industry sought government protection yesterday from surging imports that it says are being sold below cost and jeopardizing thousands of American jobs.

The steelworkers union and 12 steel companies, including such giants as Bethlehem Steel and U.S. Steel Group, announced that they are filing federal "anti-dumping" complaints against Brazil, Japan and Russia. The companies urged President Clinton to take "emergency measures," which could include imposing import quotas.

Industry officials said the unfair imports cut industry profits by almost 60 percent in the first half of the year. The imports already are starting to yield layoffs and, if left unchecked, eventually could wipe out 100,000 jobs, they said.

"It is an absolute crisis," said Paul Wilhelm, president of U.S. Steel Group.

The steel industry said that producers in Brazil, Japan and Russia are selling millions of tons of hot-rolled steel below cost in the United States because they can't sell it in their own countries, which are suffering from severe economic troubles. Hot-rolled steel has many uses, including for automobiles and construction.

The industry said the worst offender is Russia, which is selling steel in the United States for as little as one-third of its production cost. The industry also charged that the Brazilian government is unfairly subsidizing its steel industry.

Imports of unfairly traded hot-rolled steel from the three countries have soared 500 percent since 1995, the U.S. group said. Imports from the three countries now account for 28 percent of the U.S. market, up from 10.9 percent last year and 4.3 percent in 1995.

The steel industry has started an advertising campaign to rally public support for its cause. In addition, the industry may file additional complaints targeting other countries or other types of steel.

"What we want is something to stop the hemorrhaging," United Steelworkers of America President George Becker said.

Japanese companies insist they are not selling hot-rolled steel in the United States below cost, Japanese Embassy official Aki Tamura said. …

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