Pascrell Testified on Behalf of Alloy Stainless Products of Totowa
Congressman shared concerns about steel imports with International Trade Commission
WASHINGTON - Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) took the concerns of his district to the International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. recently, testifying on behalf of Alloy Stainless Products of Totowa about the impact of steel imports on U.S. companies. Pascrell delivered his testimony at a hearing on the Steel Global Safeguard Investigation.
Steel imports into the U.S. market reached record levels in 1998, dropped in 1999, but started rising again in 2000. Reasons for the rise in imports may have included the need for the countries involved to earn hard currency to deal with pressing financial issues such as the Asian financial crisis.
"It is difficult for me to comprehend how we can continue to allow these import surges to carve away at U.S. companies," Pascrell said. "We have so much at stake and as each day passes by we seem to be allowing our manufacturing base and their workers to drop out of sight. We cannot allow this segment of our economy to be erased."
Approximately 20 U.S. steel producers have gone into bankruptcy and some have closed their doors for good. While different companies and parts of the industry have been affected in different degrees, active and retired steelworkers have become particularly concerned about the industry's possible inability to continue to fund pension and healthcare benefit commitments.
"The import crisis is real and I hope that the Commission will act accordingly to provide the relief needed to the stainless steel industry," stated Pascrell in his testimony.
The Bush Administration initiated an investigation of the steel industry under Section 201 of U.S. trade law on June 5, 2001. Section 201 relief, known as "safeguard" or "escape clause" relief, allows the U.S. to implement temporary trade relief for a domestic industry after finding that suddenly higher levels of imports have injured it. Under U.S. law, the presidential request goes to the ITC for an investigation to determine if high import levels are a substantial cause of injury to the U.S. industry.
Alloy Stainless, in business since 1943, produces stainless steel fittings that are used in a variety of applications and they employee 85 union workers. The high levels of imports limits their ability to compete in the marketplace. If the ITC finds due injury in the stainless steel marketplace, and the President acts, the company will be helped greatly.