Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), as part of his longstanding efforts to protect Ohio jobs, pressed administration officials on steps being taken to implement the ENFORCE Act – Portman-championed trade legislation signed into law in February that is designed to crack down on foreign producers that evade customs duties. The ENFORCE Act will help to stop efforts to illegally import goods by setting up a process that gives domestic producers an opportunity to formally petition Customs and Border Protection to investigate possible antidumping and countervailing duty evasions, a top priority for American manufacturers. 

Excerpts of Portman’s questioning can be found below and video can be found here

“Companies in Ohio like U.S. Steel were very happy when we won a case that Senator Brown and I both supported and we were able to put in place some relief, and now they’re seeing evidence of fraud, circumvention, numerous Chinese websites actively promoting their ability to evade this specific tariff that’s in place by falsifying the country of origin of Chinese-made pipe product. So it’s happening right now as we talk. One of the things we got into this legislation … is the ENFORCE Act. I’ve been a supporter of the ENFORCE Act because even when we’re successful in these cases, if there’s evasion, it still doesn’t help the workers we represent. So Senator Brown and I got legislation through called the Leveling the Playing Field Act. It changes the way you deal with antidumping and countervailing duty cases … But it doesn’t help if you don’t have the ENFORCE Act enforced as well. The ENFORCE Act will keep people from evading that countervailing duty or antidumping duty by going to another country.

“American Spring Wire employs 250 people in Bedford Heights, Ohio and can tell the same story. American Spring Wire was a successful petitioner in a trade case against China. Significant duties on imports of steel wire from China. Chinese traders circumvented the orders by shipping the wire through Malaysia. Imports from Malaysia, Mr. Commissioner, were non-existent in 2008 – like, none. They increased to 4.7 million pounds in 2009 and then surged to 32.8 million pounds in 2010. While imports on China, by the way, because of the orders that were in place, declined. So this is happening, and these duty evaders are becoming more brazen every day.

“We know that there is [steel] overcapacity overseas that’s being dumped in America. We’ve been winning cases. Foreign steel imports have now taken a record 29 percent of the U.S. market share. That was 2015 numbers, we believe it’s higher in 2016. We’ve had 13,500 layoffs in the last year, over 1,000 layoffs in Ohio alone - steel workers. Outside of the efforts to enforce the ENFORCE Act, which we talked about today, what else are you doing to help the administration address the steel import crisis?

“We need to see some of those actions. We need to see, as you say, that message being sent by actual successes.”

Over the last four months, Portman has made clear his top priority in the Senate continues to be boosting Ohio jobs and the economy. He has a lengthy record of delivering results for Ohio workers and has worked to expand markets for Ohio products and combat unfair trade practices that hurt Ohio workers.

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