By Paul Ploumis
March 01, 2017 02:00:31 AM
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The American Iron and Steel Institute has issued statements commending the recent steps of action initiated by the Trump administration towards strengthening the country’s manufacturing sector. The trade body noted that these steps are likely to turn positive for the US steel industry. It has welcomed the speech made by the President which highlighted the various issues facing the steel industry. Also, AISI has applauded the appointment of Wilbur Ross as the new Secretary of Commerce.
In a press statement, Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute noted that the President’s speech to Congress demonstrates his continued commitment to manufacturing and issues impacting the country’s steel industry. A number of goals mentioned in the speech in connection with efforts to fight unfair foreign trade, providing robust infrastructure and ensuring tax reforms are in line with AISI’s public policy, Gibson pointed out.
A special focus on aggressive enforcement of US trade laws is expected to address much of the market-distorting policies and practices that result in rising steel overcapacity and increasing volumes of steel from other countries, especially from Asian region, entering the country. The lowering of corporate tax rates would lead to increased competitiveness of steel and other industries in the country, it noted. The promised push for new infrastructure projects along with his commitment to use steel made in the US in all federally funded infrastructure projects will rejuvenate the steel sector. AISI also welcomed Trump’s plan to connect private investors with federal, state and local governments to boost funding of projects.
In another statement, AISI applauded confirmation of Wilber Ross as the new Secretary of Commerce. Incidentally, the Senate had confirmed Monday night his appointment by a vote of 72 to 27 yesterday, with strong support from Democrats. Unlike other nominees, Ross did not face intense opposition from Senate Democrats and had a smooth confirmation hearing. The trade body expressed confidence that Ross’ clear focus on challenges faced by the industry and his intent to use available tools to ensure level playing field will greatly benefit domestic steel industry. His experience as a businessman will help to quickly address several critical issues including trade-distorting policies impacting steel and other industries. Ross will be an exceptional Secretary of Commerce, it noted. AISI further stated that it is eagerly looking forward to work with him.
With the appointment of Ross, the administration is likely to issue 90-days notice to Congress for the administration to go ahead with renegotiation of several trade deals including NAFTA. Ross had earlier stated that revamping of the existing 23-year old pact with Mexico and Canada would be one of his top priorities. He had also hinted at imposing duties on imported Chinese steel and other goods that are allegedly dumped at unfairly low prices or are being subsidized.
AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.