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SPECIALTY STEEL SERVICE CENTERS PRESSURE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO EXTEND VRAS

 SPECIALTY STEEL SERVICE CENTERS PRESSURE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
 TO EXTEND VRAS
 WASHINGTON, March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Service center buyers of specialty steel turned up the heat under the Bush administration by delivering to the White House an "Open Letter to the President" supporting the extension of the Voluntary Restraint Agreements (VRAs) on specialty steel due to expire on March 31.
 Twenty-three service center customers of the specialty steel industry urged the president to grant a three-year extension of the VRA program which restrains specialty steel imports. The letter cites the importance of the industry to the industrial and national defense base and as an employer of thousands of workers; praises the industry's substantial R&D and quality control programs; and expresses fear that allowing the VRAs to expire would create chaos in the marketplace, requiring "years of costly litigation against foreign producers who dump their products and are subsidized by their governments."
 The signatories also remind the president that as customers they have benefited from the continuing availability of American specialty steels at competitive prices. The letter notes that "the records show that prices of U.S. specialty steels have increased far less than the CPI or other indices of industrial products." Steel service centers purchase specialty steels for distribution to end-users; they account for about one-half of the market for specialty steel.
 Robert E. Heaton, chairman of the Specialty Steel Industry of the United States, thanked the group for joining in the call for VRA extension. "The president must now make a decision about an issue that has received broad support, including the United Steelworkers of America and numerous House and Senate members," said Heaton. "We can only hope the president will do the right thing for the industry, its skilled workers and the country."
 The Specialty Steel industry of the United States represents virtually all U.S. producers of stainless and alloy tool steels, electrical steels and other high technology metals. The industry employs approximately 35,000 men and women and has annual shipments in excess of $6 billion.
 The text of the letter to the president from the American steel service centers follows:
 As service center customers of the specialty steel industry, we are writing to express our strong support for a three-year extension of the specialty steel Voluntary Restraint Agreements (VRAs). Service centers represent about 50 percent of the distribution market for specialty steel products. Our reasons for asking for your support follow:
 1. The United States must preserve this high technology sector of the specialty steel industry, which is modern, efficient and crucial to our industrial and national defense base. The industry provides, both directly and indirectly, many thousands of jobs for American workers.
 2. The U.S. specialty steel industry has been competitive in its prices. The records show that prices of U.S. specialty steels have increased far less than the CPI or other indices of industrial products. We, as customers, and our nation have benefited from the continuing availability of American specialty steels.
 3. The quality of the U.S.-made specialty steel is equivalent to or better than that of imported steel. Domestic producers have invested over $1 billion in their facilities during the VRA program, a huge amount for an industry of its size.
 4. The alternative to a VRA extension would be years of costly litigation against foreign producers who dump their products and are subsidized by their governments. This would create chaos in the marketplace.
 We respectfully urge you to grant a three-year extension of the VRA program for specialty steels prior to its scheduled expiration on March 31, 1992.
 American Steel Service Centers:
 Aerospace Alloys, Inc. Grammer Dempsey & Hudson, Inc.
 Cincinnati Newark, N.J.
 Allied Metals, Inc. Independent Metals
 Houston Germantown, Wis.
 Amari Metals Inc. Peterson & March
 Roseland, N.J. Metal Industry, Inc.
 Bound Brook, N.Y.
 American Steel Remsen Alloys, Inc.
 and Aluminum Corp. Jacksonville, Fla.
 Liverpool, N.Y.
 Arco Steel, Inc. Reynolds Aluminum Supply Company
 Houston Richmond, Va.
 Atek Metals Center, Inc. Skorr Steel Company, Inc.
 Cincinnati Brooklyn, N.Y.
 Berwick Steel Company T.C.T. Stainless Steel, Inc.
 Columbus, Ohio Sterling Heights, Mich.
 Camalloy, Inc. Thypin Steel Company, Inc.
 Washington, Pa. Long Island City, N.Y.
 Copper & Brass Sales, Inc. Tremblay Tool Steels, Inc.
 Detroit Cleveland
 Crucible Service Centers United Steel & Aluminum Corp.
 Camillus, N.Y. Norwood, Mass.
 Energy Steel Products Corp. U.S. Alloys, Inc.
 Houston Houston
 Fry Steel Company
 Los Angeles
 -0- 3/19/92
 /CONTACT: Bert Delano, 412-394-2813, or Meg Mullery, 202-342-8439, both for the Specialty Steel Industry of the United States/ CO: Specialty Steel Industry of the United States ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG SU:


DC-MH -- DC003 -- 9524 03/19/92 09:03 EST
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Date:Mar 19, 1992
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