AISI Reacts to State of the Union

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For Immediate Release
January 20, 2015

Contact: Lisa Harrison
202.452.7115 / lharrison@steel.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), which represents North American steel producers and suppliers to the steel industry, said the President’s State of the Union message tonight had some “positive elements for the manufacturing sector;” however, “fell short of offering specific proposals to ensure robust growth for industry.” Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI, had the following comments in response to tonight’s address:

“We believe the President’s message in support of manufacturing is sincere. But details matter, and tonight’s message failed to lay out specifics for pro-growth strategies for the three T’s that are critical to the steel industry – trade, tax and transportation,” said Gibson.

Gibson said that tax reform is “a great aspirational goal. But if we are going to promote manufacturing competitiveness then tax reform proposals must preserve deductions and credits that enhance manufacturing competitiveness and lower the overall taxes that U.S. businesses pay –as other nations have been doing for years.” He noted that the United States’ combined tax rate is the highest in the world, at almost 40 percent.

Gibson also stressed that, “trade is a top priority for the steel industry. We were pleased to hear the president talk about leveling the playing field and ensuring the U.S. writes the rules on trade, including with China. We hope that the president will follow through on this pledge by working to strongly enforce U.S. trade laws and including disciplines on currency manipulation in final trade agreements – as the majority of members of Congress have urged.”

On transportation, Gibson concluded, “We are also pleased the President has highlighted the need for infrastructure funding, although many of his priorities specified during his 2014 address have not been realized – and there were no specifics outlined tonight to get there. It is imperative the Administration and Congress lay out a long-term and sustainable transportation funding mechanism based on a user fee principle – like a gas tax – that provides for a dedicated source of revenue.”

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 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI's website at www.steel.org. Follow AISI on Facebook or Twitter (@AISISteel).