Portman and Brown's Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Trade Enforcement for Ohio Steel Companies Signed into Law

June 29, 2015 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, President Barack Obama signed into law trade legislation that includes the Leveling the Playing Field Act, a bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in March and cosponsored by Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that will give U.S. companies – like the steel industry – new tools to fight against unfair trade practices.

“We must crack down on countries that break the rules, so our workers can get a fair shake in the global market,” Portman stated. “These measures ensure that Ohio workers can remain globally competitive by holding foreign countries accountable when they skirt the rules by illegally underselling or subsidizing imports. I’m pleased these provisions to help Ohio steelworkers are now law.”

“Strong trade enforcement is key to giving American industries the ability to compete,” said Brown. “As this bill becomes law, we are one step closer to making sure our workers have a level playing field. This law will allow workers and companies to challenge the unfair practices that have stacked the deck against them for too long.”

“On behalf of ArcelorMittal, I would like to thank Senator Brown and Senator Portman for their efforts to improve the effectiveness of U.S. trade remedy laws,” said Jim Baske, Chief Executive Officer, ArcelorMittal North America Flat Rolled. “Our facilities and our workers are positioned to compete with anyone in the world, as long as there is a level playing field supported by fair U.S. trade laws. It’s reassuring to have our Senators standing up for us on this important issue.”  

“We applaud the changes to the trade laws that will enable the U. S. Government to hold foreign producers more accountable for their unfair trade actions,” said James L. Wainscott, Chairman, President and CEO of AK Steel. “We greatly appreciate the bi-partisan leadership of Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown on this important issue for the domestic steel industry.”

"U. S. Steel is grateful Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown championed American manufacturing and the American worker by diligently advancing critical trade remedy and enforcement provisions in the Trade Adjustment Assistance reauthorization. Sens. Portman and Brown recognized that over time our trade laws have been weakened.  By the time ‘injury’ has occurred and can be demonstrated, our markets have already been flooded with unfairly traded goods, leading to suppressed prices, plant closures and employees being impacted by layoffs,” said United States Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi.  "This legislation allows American manufacturers and American workers to seek adequate and timely relief under U.S. trade laws. America won a round today against unfair trade, thanks to the leadership of Sens. Portman and Brown."

The Leveling the Playing Field Act, introduced in March, will restore strength to antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) statutes that allow businesses and workers in the United States to petition the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission (ITC) when foreign producers sell goods in the U.S. below market price or receive illegal subsidies. In May, the Senate passed the Leveling the Playing Field Act in its legislation to reauthorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The House also passed the bill in its customs bill.

This will benefit Ohio’s steel companies including: Picoma Industries in Cambridge, Sharon Tube in Niles, Wheatland Tube in Warren, and Vallourec Star in Youngstown, and AK Steel.