WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rand Paul announced today that he sent a letter to the International Trade Administration (ITA) requesting an expedited ruling on whether or not China, India, Italy, South Korea, and Taiwan are guilty of depressing the price of foreign steel introduced into U.S. markets. The letter advocates for the ITA to make a determination prior to the announced layoffs so AK Steel Holding Corporation, and the Ashland community, can incorporate ITA’s final decision into the status of layoffs at the steel plant.
Sen. Paul met with community and regional leadership in Kentucky last Monday regarding layoffs at the AK Steel plant, and on Tuesday sent the letter to the ITA requesting them to expedite their decision making process and make a determination before layoffs occur in December.
Sen. Paul has been engaged on this issue since he was first notified of the situation. He released the following statement:
“This is an issue incredibly important to the hard-working families in Ashland and the surrounding areas, as well as Kentucky as a whole. Since first learning of the situation, my office has been engaged and in touch with all parties to do whatever we can to help. I will continue to stay involved with this issue and sincerely hope for a favorable outcome,” Sen. Paul said.
A copy of the letter can be found below.
The Honorable Penny S. Pritzker Secretary of Commerce
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
Dear Secretary Pritzker:
I urge the International Trade Administration to issue a final ruling before December 18th on corrosion resistant steel (CORE) imports. Previous rulings from the ITA and the U.S. International Trade Commission have indicated there is substantial evidence China, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan are providing CORE imports at an unfair market price.
AK Steel and five other domestic steel producers have accused China, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan of purposefully undervaluing their CORE imports in order to increase market share in the U.S. AK Steel and plaintiffs filed their complaint on June 3, 2015.
The ITC commission issued a unanimous preliminary decision on July 16, 2015, making a determination that five import countries are causing harm to the domestic steel industry. In November, ITA makes a determination that five countries are devaluing the price of their CORE imports.
On October 16, 2015, AK Steel sent a letter to the mayor of Ashland, Kentucky, stating the company would temporarily layoff employees at the local steel plant and said the, "onslaught of unfairly traded imports, "was one of the reasons for the layoffs. The plant employs over 700 people from the local area. If the plant were to shutdown, not only would there be hundreds of people unemployed but surrounding businesses would also be affected.
The temporary layoffs are to occur between December 18th and December 30th.
I respectfully request that you give a determination on this case before December 18th. This will allow the company, and the community in general, to incorporate your response into the decisions regarding the status of the layoffs in Ashland.
Rand Paul, M.D.
United States Senator