February 04, 2016

Warner & Kaine Back Virginia Employer In Antidumping And Fair Trade Investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with a bipartisan group of 25 other senators, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Secretary Penny Pritzker supporting U.S. steel producers in antidumping remand proceedings.  The investigations are in response to petitions filed by U.S. steel rebar manufacturers, which allege Turkish rebar companies are illegally subsidizing the manufacture of rebar and dumping it on the U.S. market, undercutting U.S. rebar producers and workers. One such company, Nucor Steel, runs a facility in LaCrosse, Virginia.

“The rebar producers in our states have expressed their grave concerns about the recent surge in rebar imports from Turkey. We urge the Department of Commerce to carefully consider the arguments raised by the U.S. industry in the remand proceedings of the antidumping investigation,” the Senators wrote. “We must ensure that our antidumping and countervailing duties accurately reflect unfair trade practices so that U.S. workers and businesses can compete on a level playing field and are protected from unfairly-traded imports.”

The U.S. rebar industry is currently operating near all-time lows in terms of capacity, and faces surging imports from Turkey. Estimates show Turkey’s rebar imports now constitute approximately 80 percent of U.S. rebar imports and around 20 percent of U.S. domestic rebar consumption – and are projected to increase. In 2013, the DOC asked for, and was granted, a voluntary remand of the antidumping investigation on Turkish rebar.

Recently, the U.S. Court of International Trade (USCIT) determined that the DOC may have erred with respect to each of the issues appealed by the domestic industry in the investigation. As a result, the USCIT remanded each of these issues back to the DOC for reconsideration. Warner and Kaine are urging careful consideration of the arguments raised by U.S. Industry in the proceedings.

Nucor Steel, which runs a facility in LaCrosse, Virginia, is impacted by steel rebar dumping. Nucor Steel employs 150 workers in Virginia. In 2014, Warner and Kaine wrote a letter to the International Trade Commission (ITC) expressing support for rebar producers and workers.

“We thank Senators Kaine and Warner for supporting our Nucor teammates, and the thousands of men and women who work in the steel industry, by demanding strong enforcement of our trade laws. When foreign competitors break the rules, they must be held accountable,” said Mike George, General Manager, American Buildings Company – Virginia.

In addition to Warner and Kaine, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Burr (R-NC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Thad Cochran (R-MS), John Boozman (R-AR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Tim Scott (R-SC).

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear Secretary Pritzker:

We write on behalf of steel reinforcing bar, “rebar,” producers in our states regarding the September, 2013 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on rebar imports from Turkey. The rebar producers in our states have expressed their grave concerns about the recent surge in rebar imports from Turkey. We urge the Department of Commerce to carefully consider the arguments raised by the U.S. industry in the remand proceedings of the antidumping investigation, and to quickly complete the administrative review of the countervailing duty order on Turkish rebar.  We must ensure that our antidumping and countervailing duties accurately reflect unfair trade practices so that U.S. workers and businesses can compete on a level playing field and are protected from unfairly-traded imports.

As members who represent rebar manufacturing facilities, we understand the negative impacts that unfairly-traded imports can have on this industry, its workers, and their families, as well as on the American economy. The industry employs more than 10,000 workers throughout the country, all of whom rely on the effective enforcement of our trade laws. 

The U.S. rebar industry has expressed their concerns that current U.S. duties do not accurately reflect Turkish government subsidies or dumping margins for Turkish rebar imports. U.S. imports of rebar from Turkey have increased from around 70,000 tons per month to over 130,000 tons per month since the Department’s preliminary countervailing duty determination in April, 2014. It is our understanding that Turkey’s rebar imports now constitute approximately 80 percent of U.S. rebar imports and around 20 percent of U.S. domestic rebar consumption – and are projected to increase. Due to this unfair import competition, the U.S. rebar industry has experienced significant declines in production and is currently operating at around 63% capacity utilization. Many companies have been forced to close facilities, lay off workers and cut worker hours. 

We commend the Department for previously requesting a voluntary remand on the antidumping investigation on Turkish rebar. We understand that the U.S. Court of International Trade (USCIT) recently determined that the Department may have erred with respect to each of the issues appealed by the domestic industry in this investigation.  As a result, the USCIT remanded each of these issues back to the Department for reconsideration.  We urge the Department to carefully consider the arguments raised by the domestic industry in the remand proceedings to ensure the accurate calculation of dumping margins.

Further, we understand that the domestic industry requested the initiation of an administrative review on November 30, 2015, and we ask that the Department carefully consider the issued raised by the domestic industry to ensure the accurate calculation of Turkish producers’ duty liability.

Thank you for your attention to these matters; we look forward to your speedy reply, as it is essential that we do everything we can to prevent unfairly-traded rebar imports from further harming American jobs.

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