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STEEL PRODUCERS FILE MAJOR CASES AGAINST FOREIGN SUBSIDY AND DUMPING VIOLATIONS, SAY INJURY EXISTS DESPITE MODERNIZATION

STEEL PRODUCERS FILE MAJOR CASES AGAINST FOREIGN SUBSIDY AND DUMPING
 VIOLATIONS, SAY INJURY EXISTS DESPITE MODERNIZATION
 WASHINGTON, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Pursuant to President Bush's announced steel program, the leaders of America's steel industry today formally asked the administration to enforce U.S. trade laws against "massively subsidized" and "dumped" steel imports that are causing severe injury to U.S. producers and the loss of thousands of American jobs.
 In countervailing duty and antidumping petitions filed with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission, 12 American steel companies charged that 21 foreign countries have failed to end their "market-distorting" subsidization and dumping practices, despite repeated warnings from the Bush administration that U.S. trade laws would be fully enforced after a global agreement on voluntary export restraints expired March 31.
 The companies said that foreign governments have spent more than $100 billion to subsidize their steel exports since 1980 and that foreign steel is being dumped here at prices far below fair market value and often below the cost of production. In some cases, the alleged subsidy and dumping margins exceed 100 percent.
 Today's case filings were announced at a U.S. Capitol news conference attended by steel industry executives, United Steelworkers President Lynn Williams and several members of Congress, all of whom emphasized that domestic producers are being injured despite having invested $23 billion in the past decade to completely modernize their operations.
 Foreign unfair trade practices, they said, have contributed to net losses for U.S. steelmakers of more than $2.2 billion in 1991 alone. An additional $108 million was lost in the first quarter of this year and results for the second quarter will also be unsatisfactory.
 Thomas J. Usher, president of U.S. Steel Group, said: "For years, critics of America's steel industry have told us to modernize, to become more efficient, to live or die by the free market. Well, we're here today to tell you that we have modernized, we have become more efficient -- but we cannot continue to live with foreign subsidies and dumping which cause us serious injury and severely distort the free market in steel."
 A total of 48 antidumping and 36 countervailing duty petitions were filed, affecting imports which totaled 6.5 million tons of flat- rolled carbon steel in 1991 valued at $2.5 billion. Total U.S. consumption of these products last year was 45.5 million tons.
 Flat-rolled steel is basic to America's industrial economy and is used to make autos, ships, construction buildings, consumer durables and other major products and structures. The four flat-rolled product types (hot-rolled sheets, cold-rolled sheets, corrosion- resistant sheets and cut-to-length plate) account for roughly 60 percent of total steel shipments in the United States.
 Steel industry leaders noted today that President Bush endorsed full enforcement of the trade laws against unfair steel subsidies and dumping when he announced his steel trade program in 1989.
 That program included a two-and-a-half year extension of the Voluntary Restraint Arrangements (VRAs) on steel, which precluded normal enforcement of the antidumping and subsidy laws. President Bush set March 31, 1992, as the VRA expiration date. "Thereafter," he said, "U.S. steel producers, like other American industries, will continue to rely on domestic trade laws as an ultimate assurance against the effects of foreign unfair trade practices. The Department of Commerce will continue to enforce the laws against injurious dumping and subsidization."
 The VRAs were initiated in 1984 as an alternative to remedies that were scheduled to be imposed as a result of successful litigation brought by U.S. steelmakers against foreign producers who had committed unfair trade practices.
 When the VRAs expired March 31, U.S. Trade Representative Carla A. Hills reconfirmed the president's position. "With the termination of the VRAs, the steel industry, like every other industry, will be able to rely on trade laws to remedy unfair trade practices. The United States will vigorously enforce those laws."
 "In filing these cases today, we are doing exactly what the president said we should do," Usher said. Added Walter F. Williams, chairman and CEO of Bethlehem Steel Corp.: "With massive subsidies and large-scale dumping continuing in the American market, it's now time to enforce the trade laws. There is no other remedy."
 Bethlehem's Williams said that during the VRA period, "there was an implied obligation to foreign producers to 'clean up their act' and eliminate dumping and subsidies. This was not done. Indeed, dumping, subsidization and injury to domestic steel producers continued throughout the VRA period." On the contrary, the U.S. industry fulfilled its obligation to become a more efficient, global competitor, according to D.H. Hoag, chairman/CEO of The LTV Corp.
 "America's steel companies have more than fulfilled the intent and purpose of the VRAs, and today are the low cost, high quality producer of steel in the U.S. marketplace," said Hoag. "We are fully capable and willing to compete in a fair, free and open market with any steelmaker in the world."
 Hoag also said that U.S. steel producers "are not requesting, nor do we want, any special treatment or legislation for our industry by the administration or Congress. We ask only that the duly enacted laws of the United States be upheld."
 Several speakers pointed out that employment in American steel mills has dropped a "devastating" 58 percent in just 10 years. "That's more than 225,000 jobs lost," Usher said. "We have taken the bitter medicine. (And) it's clear that many of the foreign companies are doing business in the United States only because of subsidies from their governments or by dumping their products in our market."
 Indeed, as Williams pointed out, "We're talking about steel that could not compete in the U.S. market on the same terms and conditions that domestic mills must compete. And the jobs at risk today aren't jobs in antiquated mills, rather they are high-tech jobs in modern steel facilities.
 "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 subsidized foreign factory is making steel at higher cost to be dumped in the United States?" he asked.
 The cases filed today will be handled by the International Trade Administration of the Commerce Department, which will investigate the existence and extent of dumping and subsidization. The International Trade Commission will assess whether dumping and subsidization have caused material injury to the U.S. industry.
 The 12 petitioners are: Armco Steel Co., L.P.; Bethlehem Steel Corp.; Geneva Steel; Gulf States Steel, Inc. of Alabama; Inland Steel Industries, Inc.; Laclede Steel Co.; Lukens Steel Company; LTV Steel Co., Inc.; National Steel Corp.; Sharon Steel Corp.; USX Corp./U.S. Steel Group; and WCI Steel, Inc.
 -0- 6/30/92
 /CONTACT: Vicki Meyer or Deirdre Cohen of Sawyer/Miller Group, 202-223-1300, for the petitioners; or Lee Bland, Armco, 201-316-5266; Henry Von Spreckelsen, Bethlehem, 215-694-5896; Jack Morris, Inland, 312-899-3168; Mark Tomasch, LTV, 216-622-4635; Bob Toothman, National, 412-394-4358; or Tom Ferrall, USX, 412-433-6899/ CO: ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG SU:


TW -- DC019 -- 5252 06/30/92 14:34 EDT
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