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Steel Industry Conveys Strong Disappointment at Dropped Tariffs

Washington, DC— The U.S. steel industry expressed “deep disappointment” with the decision by the Bush Administration to prematurely drop the 201 steel tariffs.

“We are disappointed that the program was terminated after only 21 months,” Daniel R. DiMicco, vice chairman, president and CEO of Nucor Corporation and chairman of AISI, said.

“Given the industry’s dramatic consolidation and restructuring efforts, and the considerable debt that steel producers’ incurred as part of that process, it is disappointing for the President to pull the program when it is little more than halfway through,” DiMicco said.

“The real test,” DiMicco said, “is whether the Administration, will commit to the aggressive enforcement of our trade laws, including monitoring of any future import surges, self-initiation of antidumping cases, and changes to our trade laws. Anything less will undermine the progress our industry has made, and endanger American manufacturing.”

AISI President and CEO Andrew G. Sharkey, III, said that the rationale for a three-year period was the necessity of putting long-term solutions in place. “While we appreciate that the President did the right thing when he initiated the 201 steel program, the strategy was to use the full three-year period to address these underlying problems through the OECD negotiations and to put other measures in place to deal with future import surges.”

“Moving ahead, we look forward to a new partnership with the Administration to establish an effective anti-surge mechanism, including an import licensing program that has teeth, not just a warning device,” Sharkey said. “We will look to the Administration for proactive enforcement and strengthening of our trade laws and to being more aggressive in investigating and resolving unfair trade practices, wherever they occur.”

“We also want to see monitoring of all steel products with a vigorous program to deal with disruptive surges,” Sharkey said. “We must address the serious flaws in American trade law if the steel industry and other manufacturers are to compete on a level playing field in the global marketplace.”

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