WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) joined with members of the Senate Finance Committee to call on U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to work to address global overcapacities in steel, aluminum and other commodities and to ensure that the nation’s international trading partners are following the rule of law. In a letter, the senators highlighted the challenges of global overcapacity for American industries and markets and pressed the Obama Administration to enforce U.S. trade laws, including the bipartisan Customs legislation that was enacted into law earlier this year.
“Global overcapacities in steel, aluminum, and other basic commodities are significantly impacting global production, consumption, and trade flows of those products,” wrote the senators. “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.”
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), global crude steelmaking capacity more than doubled between 2000 and 2014, with growth during this period led principally by China. Certain Chinese market-distorting policies to expand capacity were an important contributor to this growth. Meanwhile, global demand for steel, including U.S. demand and Chinese demand, has decreased. As a result, increased exports of Chinese steel have entered global markets, including the U.S., impacting American steel producers, consumers, industry suppliers and workers, as well as communities across the nation. Similar overcapacity concerns exist regarding aluminum and other basic commodities.
The senators urged the Obama Administration to “take all appropriate action to address global overcapacity and related challenges. In particular, we urge you to accelerate efforts to address global overcapacity through multilateral and bilateral fora. 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 signed by Coats, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
The text of the letter can be found here.