President Trump has made many promises. One he repeatedly made on the campaign trail was that he would favor a strong stance on imports of steel to bolster the American Steel industry.
American steel was once the backbone of industry. Our abundant natural resources and strong work ethic made American steel second to none. That was then. Imported steel that is subsidized by foreign governments has flooded the market with cheap steel. This process, known as “dumping,” has decimated the steel industry and hurt the American worker.
President Trump has promised to return American steel to its former glory. Will he fulfill that promise?
In June of 2016, Donald Trump said the following:
We are going to put American-produced steel back into the backbone of our country. This alone will create massive numbers of jobs.
The way that happens is by controlling the lower grade steel that comes into America, primarily from China. President Trump talked a pretty big game about his tough negotiating skills, especially when it comes to China. It’s time to see some that toughness.
A stronger stance and even new tariffs will be backed up by findings from an investigation underway by the Department of Commerce into steel dumping. Dumping artificially low-priced steel into the US market undercuts domestic steel company’s ability to compete. The administration can bring it to an end with sanctions against the offending countries.
The Commerce Department’s investigation falls under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to conduct comprehensive investigations to determine the effects of imports of any article on the national security of the United States. The investigation looks into a number of areas including, “domestic production needed for projected national defense requirements,” and “domestic industry’s capacity to meet those requirements.” There are other factors but the first two and the “impact of foreign competition on specific domestic industries and the impact of displacement of any domestic products by excessive imports” are all important in this review.
Trump considers the steel dilemma a matter of national security that goes beyond trade. Our domestic steel production is important to our ability to produce military vehicles and weapons. If our companies are not capable of producing the steel we need and we become reliant on foreign steel we are weakened as a nation and at the mercy of others who may not have our best interests at heart. Would you trust steel produced in Michigan over steel from Beijing for American tanks or ships or planes?
Trump said of the investigation that it “will look at how steel imports are impacting the United States national security, taking into account foreign practices such as steel dumping. These are some of the great steel companies of our country. Now, some of those companies were much bigger years ago. U.S. Steel would be an example, and others would be examples. But they were much -- these were the greatest companies in the world years ago. And today, they’ve been hurt but they’ll be great again. And they’ll be great, I think, very soon. We’re going to impose very, very strict regulations on unfair competition from the outside world.”
President Trump has the ability to make good on this promise. It will involve putting forth his true conservative principles for all the world to see. The countries that are subsidizing their steel imports in a direct effort to hurt American companies must be stopped. The market would stabilize and true market value of steel would once again be found. American companies would thrive.
Making American steel strong again is imperative for our national security and to create jobs right here for the American worker.