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December 2003

Steel Industry Leaders Proclaim European Union Threat to be Unacceptable

Washington, D.C.— In the face of retaliatory trade threats from the European Union, U.S. steel industry leaders stood united in their messages aimed at preserving the American steel industry and they said they view the President’s 201 steel safeguard program as “a test case” for all of American manufacturing.

“The United States should not buckle under pressure from the European Union (EU),” Daniel R. DiMicco, vice chairman, president and CEO of Nucor Corporation and chairman of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) said. “The steel industry is a test case for problems facing all sectors of U.S. manufacturing. The way to send a clear message that the U.S. is truly committed to a level playing field for domestic manufacturing is to keep the President’s steel tariffs intact. This is the tip of the iceberg and all of America is watching.”

Thomas J. Usher, chairman and CEO of the United States Steel Corporation and vice chairman of AISI, emphasized the broad-based support for the President’s Steel Program, and urged him to “stay the course.” He said recent polls show overwhelming bipartisan support for keeping the steel tariffs in place for the intended three-year term. In addition, small business steel supplier and customer support remains strong while 29 Senators and 104 House Members from 34 states have recently written to the President, encouraging him to stand firm on this issue.

Keith Busse, president and CEO of Steel Dynamics Inc., pointed out that non-unionized workers who are more prevalent in the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) side of steelmaking, also agree that this is a make or break issue.

“It’s a little bizarre that the European Union is (acting as) the arbiter of U.S. law,” Wilbur Ross, chairman of the International Steel Group (ISG), said regarding EU threats to retaliate if the steel tariffs are not dropped. He said there is a detailed process laid out in U.S. law that would take a number of months, which is required should the WTO Appellate ruling come down against the tariffs.

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