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IN OHIO SPEECH, BETHLEHEM STEEL EXECUTIVE SAYS ILLEGAL STEEL IMPORTS HAVE COST U.S. INDUSTRY JOBS AND PROFITS

 IN OHIO SPEECH, BETHLEHEM STEEL EXECUTIVE SAYS ILLEGAL
 STEEL IMPORTS HAVE COST U.S. INDUSTRY JOBS AND PROFITS
 CLEVELAND, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- A senior officer of Bethlehem Steel Corporation (NYSE: BS) said today that a major reason imports of foreign steel have not increased more in recent years is that American producers have been "forced to accept" import-related losses "rather than give up even more business" to foreign suppliers.
 Curtis H. Barnette, senior vice president, who has been elected chairman of Bethlehem effective Nov. 1, 1992, said the lack of enforcement of this country's trade laws has severely injured U.S. producers, resulting in a heavy loss of jobs and profits.
 Speaking here at a meeting of the Cleveland and Northeast Ohio Sections of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, Inc., Barnette described the common practice by many foreign countries of preserving their steel industries with billions of dollars in subsidies, and the practice by foreign producers of openly dumping steel -- at prices far below production costs -- on the American market.
 The Bethlehem executive noted the various shortfalls of the United States' system of Voluntary Restraint Arrangements (VRAs) in stemming the flow of unfairly traded and subsidized steel imports, and called for "direct action by the U.S. government to offset the effects of unfair trade through application of the trade laws."
 "This is the only viable option available at present and the domestic industry is pursuing it," Barnette said.
 To date, he said, American steel producers have filed 84 dumping and 36 countervailing duty cases against 21 countries. In early August the International Trade Commission (ITC), finding a "reasonable indication of material injury," affirmed that 72 of the 84 cases involving 20 of the 21 countries should be continued.
 Said Barnette: "We are confident that at the end of the process, further investigation will lead to a final determination that domestic producers, our employees and our communities are being severely and unfairly injured by foreign trade violations."
 He said the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has responsibility for determining the levels of antidumping and countervailing duties to be assessed, is to make a preliminary decision on subsidy margins in November and on dumping margins next January. The ITC will then make a final injury determination in July.
 "We believe those margins could be 40 percent or more in many cases," said Barnette.
 He emphasized, "The American people need to understand that when we talk about the unfair foreign competition, we're talking about steel sales that could not take place in the U.S. market on the same terms and conditions as sales by domestic mills."
 He questioned, "Why should a well educated and highly trained operator in a modern U.S. mill -- who can turn out a ton of steel in three hours -- lose his or her job because a less productive worker in a heavily subsidized foreign factory is making steel at a higher cost to be dumped in the United States? Why should the United States, which faces closed markets in many countries overseas, continue to allow many of the same countries to subsidize and dump their steel here?"
 "The answer," declared Barnette, "is that we shouldn't. It's time to enforce the law."
 -0- 9/3/92
 /CONTACT: H.H. Von Spreckelsen, manager, corporate communications, of Bethlehem Steel, 215-694-3711/
 (BS) CO: Bethlehem Steel Corporation ST: Pennsylvania, Ohio IN: MNG SU:


LJ-CC -- PH021 -- 6577 09/03/92 15:59 EDT
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Date:Sep 3, 1992
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