02.04.16

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND URGE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE TO RAPIDLY TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT NUCOR STEEL & NEARLY 600 LOCAL JOBS AGAINST FLOOD OF PREDITORILY PRICED STEEL IMPORTS FROM TURKEY – SENATORS CALL ON FEDS TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD AHEAD OF CONSTRUCTION SEASON

Artificially Cheap Steel Rebar Imports From Turkey Are Flooding the U.S. Market, Making It Difficult For NY Steel Manufacturers Like Nucor To Compete; Recent Dept. of Commerce Findings Have Hurt U.S. Steel Companies Like Nucor – Schumer Leads Bipartisan Letter Signed by 24 Senators, Including Gillibrand, to Urge Commerce to Take Action

Schumer, Gillibrand Urged Commerce in 2014 to Carefully Consider U.S. Industry’s Evidence of Predatory Practices by Foreign Countries – Commerce Issued Final Ruling in September 2014 That Initiated Duties Against Mexico’s Producers, But Did Not Prevent Turkish Producers From Flooding The Market

Schumer: Dept. of Commerce Must Put A Stop To Predatory Trade Practices From Turkey & Allow Key NY Industry To Thrive

 

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today pushed the U.S. Department of Commerce to take action to protect Nucor – a key domestic reinforcing bar, “rebar,” producer in upstate New York – against predatory trade practices. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that Dept. of Commerce did not thoroughly address the dumping and subsidization of cheap rebar imports from Turkey in their 2014 investigation. The Senators said that while Commerce and the International Trade Commission (ITC) reached final determinations in the fall of 2014 finding that steel producers from Mexico and Turkey subsidized their imports causing economic harm to the American rebar industry, these rulings only resulted in high duties for Mexico. Schumer and Gillibrand say that the inconsequential duties levied against Turkey allowed Turkish producers to continually maintain an unfair advantage over U.S. producers like Nucor. As a result over the past year, Turkey’s producers have flooded the U.S. market with cheap steel rebar and captured around 20 percent of U.S. market. Due to this predatory competition, many U.S. rebar companies have been forced to close facilities, lay off workers and cut worker hours.  The Senators are urging the Dept. of Commerce to carefully consider the issues raised by the domestic industry and rehash its determination on Turkish rebar, to ensure a level playing field for the companies – and hundreds of local workers – that rely on a strong U.S. rebar manufacturing industry.

“Protecting our Upstate New York steel manufacturers like Nucor from predatory foreign practices is of the utmost importance. We can’t stand idly by and watch foreign companies harm our New York steel companies. These predatory foreign trade practices cannot be allowed to continue to undermine American producers, like Nucor and, and the hundreds of local workers it employs in New York,” said Senator Schumer. “To put Nucor and its workers on a level playing field, the Commerce Department needs to rehash this investigation and crack down on foreign steel companies, especially from Turkey, that artificially lower their prices.”

“Driving unfairly priced products into the U.S. cannot be tolerated and we need to continue to make it harder for foreign countries to corner the market through unfair and illegal trade and instead help put our steel manufacturers like Nucor Steel on a level playing field,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission must stand up to protect New York steelworker’s jobs from predatory international practices so that we can see more Made in America again, starting right here in New York.”

“Senator Schumer has been relentless in fighting for fair trade for Nucor Steel Auburn and our teammates,” said Drew Wilcox, General Manager of Nucor Steel Auburn, Inc. in Auburn, New York. “Our industry is experiencing a flood of dumped and subsidized rebar from Turkey. We are fighting back and only asking that the rules be enforced. We thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their support in asking for a fair and effective result so that our teammates will finally have the relief they deserve.”

Schumer and Gillibrand said that steel imports captured 20 percent of the U.S. market in 2015, an all-time record. The U.S. rebar industry, including producers like Nucor, has expressed its concerns that current U.S. duties do not accurately reflect Turkish government subsidies or dumping margins for Turkish rebar imports. In fact, 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 Dep. Of Commerce’s faulty preliminary countervailing duty determination in April 2014. The Senators said that while the final determinations back in the fall of 2014 resulted in high duties levied against Mexico, little has been done to prevent Turkish producers from flooding the market.

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. Schumer and Gillibrand said this cannot be allowed to happen in the U.S. and to companies like Nucor, which employ hundreds of workers across upstate NY. As a result, they are asking Commerce to carefully consider the issues raised by the domestic industry to ensure the accurate calculation of Turkish producers’ duty liability and an equal playing field for American companies.

Schumer and Gillibrand have long fought to combat unfair international trade tactics that cause economic harm and undermine the revitalization of manufacturing in upstate New York. Schumer met with Nucor CEO John Ferriola this week to discuss how predatory foreign trade practices that are hurting U.S. producers. The Senators originally wrote to the Department of Commerce in March 2014 regarding the predatory pricing, also known as dumping, of steel rebar into U.S. markets. The Commerce Department issued its decision in September and determined that Mexico’s rebar producers have been dumping rebar into the U.S. market. Commerce also found that at least one of Turkey’s major producers is receiving government subsidies, however little has been done to protect the U.S. rebar industry against Turkey.

After hearing the U.S. industry’s concerns with the investigation, the Department of Commerce requested a voluntary remand on the antidumping investigation on Turkish rebar, to correct or explain certain methods used to calculate duping margins against Turkish producers. 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. Schumer and Gillibrand are urging the Dept. of Commerce to carefully consider the arguments raised by the domestic industry in the remand proceedings to ensure the accurate calculation of dumping margins. Schumer and Gillibrand are also urging the Dept. of Commerce to carefully consider the arguments raised by the domestic industry in their administrative review of the Turkish government’s subsidies.

Nucor Corporation is the largest domestic steel manufacturer in the United States, with over 20,000 employees nationwide. Nucor employs 579 workers in New York. In 2001, Nucor invested $115 million to acquire what was then a failing steel-making facility in Auburn. In the decade since that acquisition, Nucor continues to invest millions to modernize or upgrade the core components of their operations. Nucor’s Auburn facility produces a range of carbon steel products including reinforcing bars and employs over 310 people. Nucor’s Chemung facility produces steel floors and joins and employs 237 workers. Nucor’s Harris Rebar facility in Albany employs 32 people.

A copy of the Senators’ letter to the Commerce Department appears below. The letter was led by Senator Schumer and Senator Portman (R-OH) and was signed by Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. John Boozman, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Richard Burr, Sen. Thad Cochran, Sen. Joe Donnelly, Sen. Richard Durbin, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Johnny Isakson, Sen. Tim Kaine, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Tim Scott, Sen. Richard Shelby, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Mark Warner, and Sen. Roger Wicker

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 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 percent 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 issues 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.

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator

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