March 05,2002

Grassley on Steel Imports Tariff Decision

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance, issued thefollowing comment about reports of President Bush’s decision to impose tariffs against steel imports.

“Over the last few months, I’ve expressed my strong concerns about imposing quantitativerestrictions or barriers to U.S. steel imports, and I remain concerned today. The number of workersin industries that consume steel in the United States far outweighs the number of workers within thesteel industry. Imposing barriers or other restrictions on their ability to import the steel they needto compete could have a lasting detrimental impact on these U.S. companies and their workers.

“While I may not agree with his decision, the President deserves credit for sticking to hisword and tackling one of the most complicated and difficult international trade issues facing theUnited States. There’s a long history of market intervention in international steel trade, and wecan’t expect to solve the problem overnight. I hope today’s decision will help the domestic steelindustry accomplish the kind of restructuring and consolidation that’s needed to fully compete in theinternational environment. The steel industry shouldn’t squander this opportunity.
“It’s important to remember that the decision to impose tariffs on domestic steel imports isjust one element of the President’s comprehensive steel policy initiative. It’s also very importantthat talks to reduce overcapacity in the global steel industry continue under the auspices of theOECD. We need to pursue negotiations to establish additional disciplines on subsidies and othermarket-distorting practices abroad. The Trade Promotion Authority bill which passed the SenateFinance Committee last year by a vote of 18 to 3 directs the President to make addressing thesepractices a priority. We need to get this bill passed by the full Senate as soon as possible so thePresident will have real credibility when negotiating with our trading partners to eliminate unfairtrading practices.”