WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, along with Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to President Obama requesting an expedited presidential investigation into the accusations of steel dumping.
Sen. Paul has been engaged on this issue since he was first notified of the situation. In the past month, Sen. Paul has met with community and regional leadership in Kentucky regarding layoffs at the AK Steel plant, sent a letter to the International Trade Administration (ITA) requesting them to expedite their decision making process and make a determination before layoffs occur in December, and met with Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles and other city representatives, as well as President and CEO of the Ashland Alliance Tim Gibbs last week.
A copy of the letter can be found below.
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write to bring to your attention troubling developments in the domestic steel industry and ask you to expeditiously review the situation before any permanent job losses occur.
On October 16, 2015, AK Steel announced the company would temporarily layoff employees at its Ashland Kentucky facility later this month. AK Steel stated that one of the reasons for the temporarily layoff was the, “onslaught of unfairly traded imports.” Ashland has 21,335 residents and the plant is expected to temporarily layoff over 700 people. If the plant were to temporarily shut down, not only would there be hundreds of people unemployed but surrounding businesses would also be significantly impacted.
Similar letters have been sent by other steel companies in other states warning of pending steel plant closures. City leaders in Fairfield, Alabama received notification from the US Steel Corporation that said it was closing its blast furnace and laying-off approximately 1,100 employees. US Steel issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice to 2,000 employees at its Granite City, Illinois facility in October 2015.
AK Steel, U.S. Steel, and four other domestic steel producers have accused China, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan of purposefully undervaluing their Corrosion-Resistant Steel (CORE) imports in order to increase market share in the US. AK Steel and plaintiffs have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Administration (FTA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) but a final decision isn’t expected to occur until after the temporary layoffs have occurred at the Ashland Works facility. A preliminary ruling by TPA stated that five countries are subsidizing steel imports and selling steel products in the US at under the market rate. TPA’s ruling allows for some countervailing duties to be assessed but a final ruling isn’t scheduled until March 3, 2016. Temporary layoffs are expected to begin at the Ashland steel facility between December 18th and December 30th.
We ask that you review these cases expeditiously. Should your review disclose unfair practices that are harming the marketplace, the Trade Act of 1974 gives you tools to address the situation.
This letter isn’t about any one steel company, but about ensuring the market is clear of actors, foreign or domestic, improperly threatening the livelihood of US citizens working hard to provide for their families and achieve the American Dream. We request that you use the tools at your disposal to inquire into this matter and have the ITC investigate the accusation in an expeditious manner.
Sen. Rand Paul, M.D