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Schumer Says Steel Imports From China Furtively Funneled Through Mexico To Avoid U.S. Tariffs Are Harming CNY Manufacturers Like Nucor In Auburn, Crucible Steel In Syracuse, & Novellis in Oswego; Senator Now Calling On Feds To Close This Loophole, Stop The ‘Steel Surge’ From China & Other Countries Which Don’t Play By The Rules

Senator Says New Tariffs Just Announced Last Week Are A GIANT, Overdue Step In The Right Direction And We Need To Use This Momentum To Protect U.S. Steel Producers Like Nucor, Which Are Harmed By Subsidized and Dumped Chinese Product

Schumer: We Need To Strike While The Iron Is Hot & Block China From Laundering Steel Through Mexico – Which Hurts Businesses Like Nucor 

On the heels of the Biden administration announcing historic, new rules to protect the U.S. steel industry from China’s unfair trade practices, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched his all-out push calling on the feds to “strike while the iron is hot” to stop China and other countries from laundering steel through Mexico to avoid tariffs. 

Schumer explained when cheap, Chinese-made steel products flood the market through Mexico, it hurts Central New York steel producers, like Nucor in Auburn, Crucible Steel in Syracuse, and Novellis in Oswego, which cannot compete with this unfair dumping. 

Schumer said, “The Biden administration’s just-announced actions to hit back against China’s continued rule-breaking are a big step in the right direction, but more needs to be done now to address the Mexico steel dumping loophole That’s why I am calling on the feds to level the playing field for American-made steel and prevent Chinese exports from exploiting loopholes to gain access to U.S. markets.” 

“China has shown time and time again that they will explore every avenue to game the system and exploit any loopholes to get their over-subsidized products into the U.S., hurting businesses like Nucor here in Central NY. The new steel tariffs are a major step to level the playing field for Nucor and American steel manufacturers and workers, but we cannot rest and must strike while the iron is hot to do more. China continues to avoid tariffs by routing their imports through Mexico, and today, I’m saying enough is enough,” said Senator Schumer. “The previous administration negotiated the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and left glaring loopholes when it comes to Chinese exports entering the U.S. market via Mexico. That’s why I’m launching my push calling on the feds to close the trade enforcement gaps that allow China to evade tariffs. Nucor is top of its class, but they can’t compete if the game is rigged with artificially cheap, over-subsidized products from China. We must ensure the U.S. gets our steel from American manufacturers like Nucor in Central New York, not China.”

Schumer said China is flooding the market with cheap products, using Chinese Communist Party (CCP) governmental subsidies to overproduce steel and undercut American manufacturers. 

To support U.S. manufacturers, President Biden has committed to tripling the existing section 301 tariff rate on Chinese steel and aluminum from 7.5% to 25%. Schumer said that this is a vital action, but it’s crucial to stop China from avoiding these tariffs by entering U.S. steel markets through Mexico, to ensure the maximum effectiveness of these new actions to promote American-made steel like Nucor’s. 

Now, Schumer is pushing for the next step to build on this momentum and gain a commitment from the feds to get Mexico to stop allowing Chinese steel to get into the U.S. market tariff-free.

“Our workers, manufacturers, and economy are paying the price because of China’s unfair gaming of the system, and it’s time we hold the Chinese Communist government accountable for flooding America’s steel markets without paying the required tariffs. The feds need to be a strong enforcer and work with Mexico to make it clear that there are consequences for trade abuses. I commend President Biden for standing up for American workers with his actions and will continue to fight to protect Central NY and American manufacturers to protect the U.S. steel industry from China’s continued trade cheating,” added Senator Schumer.

Schumer explained the ‘steel surge’ of Chinese steel coming to the U.S. through Mexico is a major threat to America’s manufacturing base and national security, and is costing manufacturing workers’ jobs. Mexican imports of Chinese steel and iron products have doubled from 2015 to 2023, and these products then make their way into the U.S without the required tariffs. Schumer said that with this drastic increase, now is the time for aggressive action to level the playing field to stop China and other countries who aren’t playing by the rules. 

“We appreciate Majority Leader Schumer taking time to visit our steel mill in Auburn today to call on the federal government to put a stop to China’s unfair tariff circumvention. The Biden administration’s S. 301 tariff increases are an important step towards sustaining robust protection from non-market-oriented steel imports, but Nucor remains concerned about Chinese steel entering American markets through third countries, including Mexico and Canada, to circumvent tariffs.  On behalf of all of us at Nucor, I would like to thank Senator Schumer for his tireless advocacy in support of domestic steel producers over the years, and for continuing to fight for a level playing field for our American manufacturing sector that is based on fair trade and environmentally friendly production processes,” said Metka Kolm, General Manager of Nucor Auburn.

“When federal policy can make a difference for our local manufacturing base Majority Leader Schumer is always fighting for us. I am happy to welcome the Majority Leader to Auburn for the first time in my capacity as Mayor, and I thank him for spotlighting the importance of NUCOR Steel to our community,” said Mayor of Auburn James N. Giannettino. “The federal government must level the playing field for US steel and aluminum producers like Nucor so that these jobs stay here in America where they belong. On behalf of the City of Auburn and the proud steelworkers living in our community, I would like to thank the President and the Majority Leader for fighting to protect American job creators such as Nucor."

Schumer said steel is critical for many major industries, including our domestic shipbuilding industry —from the commercial shipping vessels that carry American products, to the U.S. naval vessels that keep global seas safe—and China’s state-subsidized dominance in the steel industry threatens our supply chains and means American manufacturers like Nucor and Crucible in Central New York and American workers in the steel and aluminum industries face a significant challenge in competing.

Nucor Corporation is the largest domestic steel manufacturer in the United States. The Auburn plant in Cayuga County employs about 270 workers and Nucor employs about 600 workers across New York State. They produce a range of carbon and steel products including reinforcing bars. Nucor provides American-made steel for projects across the nation, including the Onondaga Lakeview Amphitheater. Nucor is also the largest recycler of any type of material in North America. 

The Biden Administration’s decision to maintain and increase Section 301 tariffs on steel imports from China will help American steel companies like Nucor by protecting them against non-market-oriented steel imports from China.

Schumer fought hard for the Build America Buy America Act to be included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to increase the use of American-made products on infrastructure projects. In particular, the Build America Buy America Act requires that all iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in infrastructure projects be produced in the United States. Schumer made sure this provision was included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law so Buy America rules apply to all taxpayer-funded public works projects, ensuring taxpayer money is going towards maximizing American manufacturing and good-paying jobs in the U.S., not overseas.

Schumer has a long history of fighting for Central New York’s steel manufacturers. In 2016, Schumer urged the previous administration’s Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Commerce to press China on its steel and aluminum overproduction, saying these subsidies threaten Upstate NY manufacturers like Nucor Vulcraft in Chemung, NY. The senator, along with Senator Gillibrand, also pushed the U.S. Department of Commerce to take action to protect Nucor against predatory trade practices, saying the Department of Commerce did not thoroughly address the dumping and subsidization of cheap rebar imports from Turkey in their 2014 investigation and asked the feds to consider the issues raised by the domestic industry and reconsider 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. In 2014, Schumer also announced that following his push, the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that steel producers from Mexico and Turkey had caused economic harm to U.S. steel reinforcing bar, or “rebar,” companies, like Nucor and Klein. Following the ITC decision, the Department of Commerce (DOC) instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect estimated duties for imports of rebar from Mexico and Turkey to level the playing field for companies like Nucor Steel, Klein Steel, and other New York steel producers.