February 12,1999

Roth/Moynihan Letter to Secretary Daley Urges Vigorous Enforcement of U.S. Trade Laws

WASHINGTON --In the face of the collapse of the ruble and the steady decline of the Russian economy, Russian steel producers began flooding the US market with their steel at cut rate prices. Subsequently, the US steel industry has filed a series of unfair trade cases with the US Commerce Department.

Over the objections of both the US steel industry and unions, the US Commerce Department recently began negotiating a suspension agreement with Russian steel producers. Such an agreement would suspend anti-dumping cases filed by the domestic steel industry against the Russian steel companies.

In response, Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr., and Committee Ranking Member Daniel Patrick Moynihan sent a letter to Commerce Secretary William Daley on February 11th. In their letter, the Senators stated:

"We are committed to working with the Administration to build a bipartisan consensus on trade policy. In our view, one significant step in that direction is the effective enforcement of our WTO-consistent trade laws that afford some measure of relief to US industry in circumstances like those currently facing the steel industry. It will be extraordinarily difficult to gain the confidence of working Americans for a forward-looking trade strategy if we are unwilling to enforce our own trade laws with vigor. Frankly, under the current circumstances, a suspension agreement that preempts the operation of the law over the objection of the petitioners would undercut our ability both to address the concerns raised by the steel industry and efforts to achieve our broader (trade) goals."