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TRADE COMMISSION RULES THAT STEEL INDUSTRY IS BEING INJURED BY IMPORTS

 TRADE COMMISSION RULES THAT STEEL INDUSTRY
 IS BEING INJURED BY IMPORTS
 WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. International Trade Commission (I.T.C.) ruled today that there is a "reasonable indication" that domestic steel producers are suffering "material injury" due to steel imports from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Oceania and Canada.
 Today's preliminary determination is the first step in the government's consideration of extensive unfair trade cases filed June 30 by the domestic industry against heavily subsidized and dumped foreign steel being sold in the United States.
 In a series of votes taken today, the I.T.C. voted affirmatively on 72 of 84 cases involving 20 of 21 countries named in the petitions.
 "We are pleased that the I.T.C. has voted to proceed on virtually all of our cases," the companies said in a joint statement after the votes today. "By value or tonnage, more than 95 percent of our cases will go forward, and we are confident that further investigation by the I.T.C. will lead to a final determination that domestic producers, our employees and our communities are being severely and unfairly injured by foreign trade violations."
 The steel cases now go to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has responsibility for determining the levels of antidumping and countervailing duties to be applied. A preliminary Commerce decision is expected in November and will be followed by a final Commerce ruling next year. The I.T.C. will then issue a final injury determination.
 In testimony and briefs submitted to the I.T.C. last month, the steel companies claimed that foreign producers are continuing to export government-subsidized and dumped steel products to the U.S. market in violation of American trade laws that have been in effect for more than 70 years. These unfair trade practices, the companies said, have contributed to billions in financial losses for U.S. producers, as well as the loss of more than 225,000 jobs since 1980. In 1991 alone, net losses for U.S. steel producers totaled $2.2 billion. Results for the first half of 1992 were also unsatisfactory.
 "American steelmakers have had to endure unfair pricing practices initiated by foreign producers who are not subject to the same free market forces as we are," the companies said.
 Foreign steel subsidies totaled more than $100 billion in the past 10 years, the companies said. These subsidies have created tremendous overcapacity in the world steel market, leading foreign producers to dump their excess production in the United States -- the most open steel market in the world -- at prices far below fair market value and often below the cost of production.
 In response to today's ruling, the steel companies warned that foreign governments will step up their efforts to defeat the cases. "Foreign producers will cry 'harassment' every time a U.S. agency or industry attempts to counter unfair trade," the companies said. "But our cases, which lie fully within the GATT process, are not the act of aggression. Market-distorting subsidies and dumping are. These unfair practices are causing severe injury to American steel companies, our employees and our shareholders, and we are determined to deal with them under the law."
 The 12 U.S. petitioners are: Armco Steel Co.; 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- 8/10/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Johnson, Sawyer/Miller Group, 202-223-1300, for the petitioners; Jack Morris, Inland, 312-899-3168; Lee Bland, Armco, 201-316-5266; Henry Von Spreckelsen, Bethlehem, 215-694-5896; Mike Lawell, LTV, 216-622-4613; Bob Toothman, National, 412-394-4358; Tom Ferrall, USX, 412-433-6899/ CO: ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG SU:


DC -- DC042 -- 8741 08/10/92 18:30 EDT
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Date:Aug 10, 1992
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