By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia spoke recently at a “Save Our Steel Jobs” rally held at the US Steel Fairfield Works and Tubular Operations plant in Fairfield, Alabama.
The purpose of the rally was held to raise awareness about the impact that illegal dumping and trade violations by foreign competitors are having on American manufacturers and jobs.
Congressman Bachus told reporters at the event, “U.S. workers and this modern mill can compete with anybody in the world. But if foreign producers are cheating and not playing by the rules, there is no way you can compete. If they tilt a football field ten feet on one side every time you’re running the ball, you are not going to win. This is about jobs, families, our economic security, and our national security because if we can’t manufacture things, we can’t defend ourselves.”
Over 1000 people reportedly attended the rally which was organized by the Alliance for American Manufacturing and spurred in part by a surge of imported steel pipe from South Korea used for oil and natural gas production.
According to information provided by Bachus’s office a dumping complaint filed by American producers is being evaluated by the U.S. Commerce Department, with a final decision expected next month.
Congressman Bachus has joined a letter sent by more than 150 House Members on June 10 asking the Commerce Department for strict and full enforcement of U.S. trade laws in its final determination of the case involving oil country tubular goods (OCTG) imports. Those imports have doubled since 2008 and increased by 61% so far in 2014 compared to last year, according to the letter. Steel piping is used heavily in the American oil industry which has been booming in recent years.
Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul said in a recent statement, “We commend this bipartisan group for their leadership in pressing an issue that has such potentially serious consequences for the nation’s steel producers and their workers. We’ve already seen the effects of this dumped steel pipe in terms of shuttered factories and laid-off workers. We hope their efforts will ultimately help to preserve good middle-class jobs throughout the nation.”
According to a report co-authored by the Economic Policy Institute and the Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart, steel dumping is especially apparent in the market for OCTG pipe used in oil and natural gas exploration. OCTG imports from South Korea and eight other countries more than doubled between 2010 and 2012. As the surge continues, domestic steelmakers’ production, capacity utilization, shipments, and sales all fell in the first quarter of 2013, with operating income slashed by nearly $191 million.
Government subsidized foreign competition combined with Draconian new regulations from Obama’s EPA has many concerned that America’s Steel Jobs could be in Jeopardy.
Congressman Spencer Bachus is retiring at the end of this year. He has served the people of Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District for 22 years.