President Donald J. Trump campaigned in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania on a campaign to bring jobs home to America. The Trump Administration has been working on a “steel investigation” to study the national security implications of Chinese dumping of steel on the world markets. Right now, President Trump can keep his promise to bring back coal, steel, and energy jobs back to American workers.
The New York Times reported on April 20, 2017, that “Mr. Trump’s steel investigation is much broader than dozens of anti-dumping cases against China and other exporters filed by the Obama administration and its predecessors. It invokes a somewhat novel principle of using national security as the criterion for whether the imports are damaging the United States. The narrow argument is that a depleted American steel industry would be unable to produce enough steel to supply the military. More broadly, White House officials say an economically vibrant country is better able to defend itself.” This is one tool to crack down on cheating by the Chinese.
After weeks of waiting for action, a Commerce spokesperson announced in a statement last week that the long-awaited so called “Section 232” steel and aluminum report is in its final stages of review. The report investigating the impact of steel imports on national security was originally expected at the end of June but has been stalled without explanation for more than six weeks.
Ohio Democratic Representative Marcy Kaptur questioned Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on the report’s delay in a public letter this week and urged him to take “speedy action” to compensate for the lost time. This request came after Rep. Kaptur spoke at a hearing on the matter in May, in which she urged the Department of Commerce and the administration to expedite the investigation to protect our national security interests and bring much-needed relief to American workers. But it is not only the progressives from steel producing states that care about domestic steel production. Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey criticized the Obama Administration for subsidizing Russian steel mining company in 2011.
Both Republicans and Democrats have teamed up to protect American steelworkers. Kaptur and Toomey show that this is not a partisan issue, and it is an issue that the American people care about. America First is an idea that seeks to protect American workers and President Trump made American jobs a centerpiece of his campaign for the White House.
On April 20, 2017, President Trump announced his effort to continue the Commerce Department investigation into steel dumping. Trump said of the investigation that it “will look at how steel imports are impacting the United States national security, taking into account foreign practices such as steel dumping.” Trump declared that steel dumping “is a tremendous problem in this country” and that foreign governments are “dumping vast amounts of steel in our country, and they’re really hurting not only our country, but our companies.” Trump expressed concern that this dumping was part of a strategy to undermine American steel production.
The domestic steel industry has been destroyed and damaged by foreign governments’ subsidizing of steel production. The subsidies drive prices down in an effort to drive American corporations out of business so that there is no competition for the Chinese steel producers. Steel imports have surged and threatened the national security if our nation loses the capacity to produce steel in a time of need. Furthermore, the economic security of families in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio have been damaged.
President Trump will have ninety days after he receives the report from the Department of Commerce pursuant to Section 232. He should not need more than 90 minutes to figure out that he needs to take action to stop Chinese dumping of steel into the American market.
Edward Woodson is a lawyer and host of the nationally syndicated Edward Woodson Show, which airs daily from 3 to 6 pm EST on gcnlive.com.