This week, Minnesota's Congressional Delegation proudly announced that The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has launched new trade tariffs against seven nations that are designed to thwart the illegal dumping of underpriced steel products- a practice that badly hurt Minnesota's Iron Range and U.S. steel producers.
While new tariffs in the last year have largely focused on China, Brazil and England, this week's ITC ruling determined that the U.S. steel industry has been "materially injured" by imports of hot-rolled steel flat products from Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.
As a result, the U.S. Department of Commerce is issuing countervailing duty orders or antidumping duty orders of these products from these countries.
Members of Minnesota's Congressional Delegation fought hard for the trade tariffs in an effort to alleviate the mass layoffs and closures of tacontie plants across the Iron Range in Northeast Minnesota. Iron ore is the key ingredient to steel and so under priced steel-imports badly hurt the entire U.S. iron and steel industry.
U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Rick Nolan have all visited the Iron Range, rallied with 2,000 of its laid off workers and testified before the ITC to push for trade penalties that might help restore economic rigor to the hard hit Iron Range.
Late Tuesday, they cheered the ITC ruling, which expands the focus of trade violators beyond China, a nation widely recognized as an aggressive exporter of underpriced steel goods into the United States. Tuesday's ITC decision focused exclusively on other nations from Europe, South America and Asia.
In a statement, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said “These [new] tariffs are welcome news for our workers but we cannot rest until every miner is back on the job.”
She added that "Workers in northern Minnesota have experienced the harmful effects of steel dumping on our domestic industry firsthand. They deserve a level playing field to compete on and the protections they need to be able to support their families.”
Nolan noted that earlier ITC tariffs on China steel have had an impact. By broadening the list of culprits, Minnesota's key iron ore producing region stands to recover even faster.
"“Our hard work and the Administration’s historic crackdown on illegally dumped foreign steel by China and other trade cheater nations is producing real results,” Nolan said.
“More than 1,000 Iron Range miners are back to work, iron ore and steel prices are up,[and] the glut of foreign steel is disappearing," he said.
Nolan added that the fledgling improvements in U.S. iron ore and steel market condition is starting to spark new investments. "Cliffs Natural Resources is [now] investing $65 million in new, 21st century mining technology [in Minnesota] that will ensure good mining jobs on the Range for generations to come. That said, economic recovery on the Range is still a work in progress, and our efforts will continue until every miner is back at work and every mine is back producing at full capacity,” Nolan said.