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BETHLEHEM STEEL CEO ADDRESSES STUDENTS

 ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The American steel industry is capable of competing against any steel-producing nation in the world as long as the competition is based on the rules of "fair" trade, Curtis H. Barnette, chairman and chief executive officer of Bethlehem Steel Corporation (NYSE: BS), told students and faculty at the University of Rochester this afternoon.
 Speaking at the university's Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, Barnette said most foreign steel is being traded unfairly in this country, and he outlined the domestic industry's current struggle against illegally dumped and government-subsidized steel products.
 Bethlehem's chief executive said he endorses President Clinton's position on trade policy.
 "President Clinton has said `we will seek to expand trade by opening foreign markets, and we will enforce the laws at home.' His view of trade policy is right on. For fair trade to be achieved, and to assure its future growth, the U.S. must have competitive industries as well as strong trade laws and the willingness to enforce them."
 Said Barnette: "Under President Clinton, trade policy will be a part of an integrated economic policy whose goal is economic growth and the creation of high-wage jobs for American workers. Our prosperity and that of our children depend on our ability to compete and win in global markets."
 He said that had fair trade laws been enforced during the recent economic slowdown, the American steel industry could have maintained reasonable profitability.
 "Instead, domestic steel prices peaked in early 1989 and there has been a constant lowering of prices by foreign producers from all over the globe ever since," he said, forcing U.S. steelmakers to restrict capital investment, close facilities and lay off employees.
 To counter the unfair trade practices, the American steel industry filed trade suits against 20 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
 Barnette emphasized that the American steel industry is competitive and supports a North American Free Trade Agreement, GATT and a Multilateral Steel Agreement.
 But based on the steel industry's recent trade suits, he said, the International Trade Commission last August determined that there was "reasonable indication" that domestic steel producers were suffering "material injury" due to unfairly traded steel imports. As a result, the U.S. Department of Commerce has made preliminary determinations on subsidy and dumping margins against every one of the countries named in the suits.
 He said, "Our orders have picked up greatly since these preliminary margins were announced."
 Barnette cautioned that the Commerce Department still has to make a final determination, and that the ITC must then weigh all of the information -- both from domestic and foreign producers -- before making a final determination. "The evidence is compelling and we expect a ruling in our favor," he said.
 Barnette declared that the trade cases "are a prime example of why it is critically important to America's future standing as an economic power that strong and effective U.S. trade laws be maintained."
 Summing up, Barnette asked the graduate business students:
 -- "Why should a well-educated and highly trained operator in the 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 steel here?"
 The answer, he said, is, "We shouldn't."
 /delval/
 -0- 5/12/93
 /CONTACT: Gary W. Graham, corporate communications of Bethlehem Steel, 215-694-5350, or fax, 215-694-1509/
 (BS)


CO: Bethlehem Steel Corporation ST: Pennsylvania, New York IN: MNG SU:

MK-LJ -- PH027 -- 7716 05/12/93 15:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 12, 1993
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