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Steelmakers Push Biden Administration to Preserve Protective Trade Policies

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Thursday, May 26, 2022   

As the global economy faces an uncertain future, Virginia's steel producers are pushing President Joe Biden to recommit to trade policies designed to protect America's steel industry.

According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, Virginia's steel sector employs nearly 5,000 people, who collectively earn about $357 million annually.

Jerry Adams, general manager of Steel Dynamics' Roanoke Bar Division, said without protections from the feds, a global oversupply of steel could threaten those jobs.

"The problem is, these countries rely on unfair trade practices, illegal subsidies and state intervention to benefit their steelmakers at our expense right here in Virginia," Adams asserted.

In 2018, the Trump administration placed a 25% tariff on foreign steel, a policy to which the Biden administration has largely remained committed. While Biden has loosened tariffs on allied countries, such as the European Union and Japan, the administration has kept protective policies in place for more hostile nations, such as China.

According to the Alliance for American Manufacturing, more than 75% of the global steel supply since 2000 has come from China, and the world has about 700 million metric tons more steel stock than it actually needs.

Adams argued America's protective policies stabilized the domestic steel sector, which in turn allowed companies to reinvest in their operations in Virginia and across the country.

"We're seeing steelmakers investing, hiring workers, and producing more tons of steel here in the United States," Adams observed. "These trade-protection measures are making a significant impact here in Virginia."

Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced it would be temporarily lifting steel tariffs on Ukraine in a move to help spur the struggling nation's economy. The New York Times reports it should not have a major impact on the domestic steel economy, since Ukraine is America's 12th largest foreign steel supplier.


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