In Support of Auburn’s Nucor Steel, Rep. Katko Testifies Before International Trade Commission, Urges Strong Enforcement of Trade Laws Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

August 6, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC— Ahead of the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) final determination on whether the antidumping duties on rebar from Mexico and the countervailing duties on rebar from Turkey should remain in place, U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) today testified before the Commission on behalf of American rebar producers, including Nucor Steel’s plant in Auburn. Highlighting the significant impact COVID-19 has had on domestic manufacturers, Rep. Katko urged the ITC to use the tools available to ensure unfair trade practices do not inflict additional damage on rebar producers like Nucor Steel.

Speaking at today’s hearing, Rep. Katko stated, “Companies like Nucor play a vital role in my community and the nation’s economy.  That important role is threatened when foreign competitors receive illegal government subsidies and dump their products here, hurting U.S. companies and their workers.  That is why it is imperative that our trade laws are strongly enforced. It is my understanding that current trade remedies have been effective in restraining unfairly traded rebar imports from Mexico and Turkey, and as a result, U.S. rebar companies have been able to benefit from U.S. demand.  In short – they are working. He continued, “Manufacturers are not immune from the incredibly challenging and uncertain economic times our country faces as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Revoking these remedies would compromise the industry’s progress just when stability is needed most. In closing, I am not asking for special treatment for our manufacturers – I am simply asking that our trade laws be enforced.” 

“Representative Katko has been a consistent voice in the fight against unfair trade and we appreciate his support,” said Jason Curtis, General Manager of Nucor Steel Auburn, Inc.  “He has visited our Auburn plant on several occasions and understands how important a level playing field is to our Nucor teammates, their families and the community.”

The full text of Rep. Katko’s remarks can be found below:

Thank you Chairman Kearns and Members of the Commission.  I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today on behalf of U.S. rebar producers. I understand that the Commission is nearing a final determination on whether the antidumping duties on rebar from Mexico and the countervailing duties on rebar from Turkey should remain in place.  I think it is very clear that if unfairly traded imports are allowed to return to the market, our country’s rebar producers will be injured once again. 

In my three terms as a U.S. Representative, I have committed myself to fight for domestic manufacturers, especially those in Central New York.  Our manufacturers are the best in the world, and I can think of no better example of American manufacturing than Nucor Steel in Auburn, which has been making steel in my district since 1974.  

We have the most cost efficient and cleanest rebar producers in the world, with Nucor Steel Auburn’s products containing 97% recycled content.  I have been to Nucor’s Auburn facility and seen first-hand the efficiency of their operations and the high-quality products they produce.  They also value their workers’ safety above all else, having achieved the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) status – its highest level of recognition for safety.  

The 300 hardworking men and women of Nucor Steel Auburn are depending on this Commission’s decision for their economic well-being.  Since every steel job supports an additional five to seven jobs, a thriving steel mill has an impact across my district and the entire Upstate New York economy.  But the mill’s contribution is not just economic.  As our area dealt with the pandemic, blood supplies ran low.  Nucor Steel Auburn teammates, following special protocols including safe social distancing, hosted a record-breaking blood drive with help from the Auburn community. 

Companies like Nucor play a vital role in my community and the nation’s economy.  That important role is threatened when foreign competitors receive illegal government subsidies and dump their products here, hurting U.S. companies and their workers.  That is why it is imperative that our trade laws are strongly enforced.  

It is my understanding that current trade remedies have been effective in restraining unfairly traded rebar imports from Mexico and Turkey, and as a result, U.S. rebar companies have been able to benefit from U.S. demand.  In short – they are working.  These remedies have enabled producers to make new investments and create good jobs in the United States.  However, manufacturers are not immune from the incredibly challenging and uncertain economic times our country faces as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Revoking these remedies would compromise the industry’s progress just when stability is needed most.

I understand that the Commerce Department has already determined that unfair trade is likely to continue if the remedies are revoked.  We cannot allow foreign producers that do not play by the rules to take unfair advantage of the U.S. market and threaten much-needed jobs.  

In closing, I am not asking for special treatment for our manufacturers – I am simply asking that our trade laws be enforced.  When faced with unfair trade practices, I believe it is the duty of the American government to use the tools available to ensure that such practices do not injure our industries.  

Thank you very much for allowing me to testify today.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Commission on these critical issues.
 

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