U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Representative Rick Nolan, announced today final tariffs to combat steel dumping. Klobuchar, Franken, Nolan have repeatedly called on the Administration to take action to curb steel dumping from countries like China. Minnesota's iron ore miners and steelworkers are adversely impacted by these unfair trade practices. The Department of Commerce announced final tariffs this week on imports of cold-rolled steel from China and Japan. The tariffs on Chinese steel are set at 266 percent and 71 percent for Japanese steel.
"Steel dumping has harmed our domestic industry and left many workers on the Iron Range without a job to support their families. To advocate for our workers, I have long called for the Administration to take tougher action to address the dumping of Chinese steel on our shores," said Klobuchar. "These final tariffs will help curb steel dumping and level the playing field for Minnesota's iron ore miners and steelworkers. The next step is for Congress to pass our bills to strengthen America's trade enforcement capabilities and ensure laid-off workers affected by steel dumping receive the support they deserve."
"Minnesota's Iron Rangers know they can compete with anybody in the world on a level-playing field," said Franken. "But when countries like China manipulate their currency and dump subsidized steel into our markets, they steal jobs in Minnesota and across the country and threaten our businesses, families, and entire communities. These tariffs on subsidized and mispriced Chinese steel are something I've fought to make happen for a long time now, because the Northland can't afford to lose more jobs. I'm going to continue pushing to better enforce our trade laws and help support our iron ore miners and steelworkers."
"Mining and steel production are what we do here on the Iron Range - it's our way of life," Nolan said. "Trade cheater nations dumping low-grade, sub-par steel into our market has threatened that way of life and caused job losses across our region. I'm pleased to see the Administration heeding our call to take stronger action against steel dumping. After all, America's iron ore mining and steel industries are the foundation of our economic security and our national security. It is imperative that we ensure the strength these industries and support the hardworking men and women who work in these industries."
In February, after efforts from Klobuchar, Franken, and Nolan the Administration announced new actions to combat steel dumping. The executive actions from the White House added Customs and Border Patrol personnel to enforce our trade laws, stepped up inspections of steel imports at our ports of entry, and increased personnel at the Commerce Department to help ensure tariffs are enforced against those who dump steel in the U.S. The President also signed legislation (HR 644) that provides additional tools to more aggressively enforce anti-dumping provisions under existing federal law.
Klobuchar is a leader in efforts to fight foreign steel dumping and provide support for our U.S. steelworkers and miners affected by recent layoffs. Klobuchar and Franken have introduced legislation to crack down on illegal steel dumping by strengthening trade enforcement. Following consistent pressure from Klobuchar last year, the International Trade Commission voted to impose penalties on Mexican, Turkish, and Korean companies dumping steel in the U.S. She also led a letter with Franken and Nolan to successfully urge the U.S. Department of Labor to expedite approval of TAA petitions submitted by workers from the affected mining operations.
Franken has been working hard to crack down on illegal trade practices by foreign countries that hurt Minnesota's workers and businesses. He has also been fighting to ensure that workers get the job training and education support they need when they've been laid off. In December, he stressed the urgency of the jobs crisis in the Northland directly to President Obama's Chief of Staff at an Iron Range meeting he helped arrange with mining companies, affected steelworkers, and local officials. And then, at this year's State of the Union Address, he again spoke directly with the White House Chief of Staff about the issue. Franken has also pressed key trade agencies to act to limit the damage being done by unfairly priced foreign steel and has introduced legislation with Klobuchar that would bolster trade enforcement laws. Last week, Franken led the introduction of the China Market Economy Status Congressional Review Act, which would help keep unfair Chinese trade practices in check and protect Iron Range workers.
Nolan has been leading the charge against illegal steel dumping and other unfair trade practices since returning to Congress in 2013 after spending 32 years away from Washington working in the private sector. He has testified in-person several times before the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the Department of Commerce to demand stronger action against foreign steel dumping. Nolan has also led several bipartisan letters calling attention to steel dumping and pressing for immediate action to solve the crisis. [press release]