U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) was one of several lawmakers to sign a letter that outlined for U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker the importance of making sure the nation’s trading partners, particularly those involved in steel, aluminum and other commodities, are following trade laws.
Lead authors on the letter were U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who also serves as Trade Committee chair, and ranking member U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
“Global overcapacities in steel, aluminum, and other basic commodities are significantly impacting global production, consumption, and trade flows of those products,” the lawmakers noted. “Much of this global overcapacity stems from foreign government subsidies and other market-distorting policies that are creating challenges for companies and workers across the United States and abroad.”
Statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicate that global crude steelmaking capacity worldwide doubled from 2000 to 2014, mostly in China, while at the same time demand for steel has dropped worldwide. This has led to more steel exports from China, which has had a negative effect on the American steel industry as a whole, as well as production facilities, consumers, suppliers and employees.
Situations like this one were also noted in the aluminum market as well as with regard to other commodities.
“We urge you to accelerate efforts to address global overcapacity through multilateral and bilateral fora,” the senators’ letter said. “We also urge you to enforce U.S. trade laws, including the recently enacted Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 and American Trade Enforcement Effectiveness Act.”
The letter was a precursor to the April 12 public hearing on the global steel industry called by U.S. trade representatives and members of the U.S .Department of Commerce.