AISI Members Tell Congressional Subcommittee That More Can Be Done to Help Steel Industry and Manufacturing

For Immediate Release:
March 21, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chief executives from a number of the leading steel companies in the U.S. today told members of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, that - while the steel industry is regaining a post-recession momentum -- many government policies on tax, energy, infrastructure, environment and trade need to be remedied to keep American jobs in steel and other manufacturing sectors.

Joe Carrabba, Chairman, President and CEO, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. and AISI Chairman, said, “The steel industry directly employs roughly 153,000 workers in the United States, and it directly or indirectly supports more than one million U.S. jobs.   As a capital-intensive industry facing intense competition in the U.S. and global markets, the American steel industry supports tax policies that will level the international playing field and make U.S. firms more competitive globally.  Achieving a lower overall statutory tax rate should not come at the expense of higher effective tax rates for the businesses and industries that most support capital investment, job growth and value-added manufacturing.”  Carraba also said that infrastructure improvements are critical,  “I urge you all to view federal support for roads, bridges, ports and rails, not as expenditures, but as investments in the competitiveness of our nation.”

John Ferriola, Chief Executive Officer & President, Nucor Corporation, speaking about unfair foreign trade, said, “Steel imports increased 17 percent from 2011 and a whopping 38 percent from 2010.   The reason we are seeing this import surge is that while America is a free market, many major steel producing countries are not.   More than 25 countries currently maintain restrictions on scrap and other steelmaking raw materials.  China is by far the worst offender – its highly subsidized steel industry is government owned and controlled, and its market remains heavily distorted and closed to outside competition.   Policymakers have a role to play – namely, enforcing our trade laws to ensure our system of global free trade is working fairly.”

Mike Rippey, President and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA LLC, said, “The American steel industry today is simply not your grandfather’s, or even your father’s, steel industry.  Since the early 1900’s, steel has been the standard material for car body construction – it’s strong, moldable, and low cost.  But, customer expectations and government regulations…have challenged automakers to increase safety, improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions, all at the same time – a huge challenge.  I’m here today to tell you that steel is meeting that challenge.  We would urge the Subcommittee to make sure that..regulations measure the full impact of materials on the environment, from cradle to grave, over their `life cycle’.”

John Surma, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Steel, (in photo at right) said on energy development, “The shale gas revolution holds great promise for American industry and workers.  As the energy industry has increased its domestic exploration and production efforts, new markets have emerged for steel tubular products and services.  The energy sector has been a rare bright spot for [steel] during a challenging period of economic recession and slow growth in the rest of the economy.  We are as concerned as anybody about prices and volatility, but we also have great confidence in the ability of our domestic shale reserves and the energy industry to meet America’s natural gas demand requirements.”

Mike Rehwinkel, President and CEO of EVRAZ North America, (in photo at left) concluded, “To be competitive in today’s market, we need a reasonable, streamlined regulatory approval process for the construction and permitting of new facilities or modernization of existing ones.  Currently the bureaucratic permitting process has become controlled by special interests that raise issues outside the purview of the process simply to delay an approval.   To continue to have a healthy industry, regulations should be well defined.    A case in point is the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.   It will provide a competitively-priced, reliable North American supply option for Gulf Coast refineries and has met extensive regulatory approvals; yet it is being delayed.  This is undermining the goal of secure, stable energy supplies in our country.” 

Full copies of the CEO testimonies can be found at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/our-nation-builders-strength-steel.

Contact: Lisa Harrison
202.452.7115 / lharrison@steel.org

Click here for a PDF version of this release.

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice.  AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.  AISI is comprised of 25 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 124 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.  AISI's member companies represent approximately over three quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.  For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s Web site at www.steel.org .