|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) wants the Clinton Administration to get tough with the Russian government in ongoing negotiations on a suspension agreement to limit certain Russian steel imports into the United States. "Any suspension agreement negotiated by the Administration should not give market share to the Russians at the expense of the American steel industry and steelworkers," noted Traficant in a letter he sent to President Clinton last week. The letter was co-signed by U.S. Reps. Peter Visclosky (D–IN), Ralph Regula (R–OH), John Murtha (D–PA) and Jack Quinn (R–NY). All of the co-signers are members of the Congressional Steel Caucus.
"We would advise the Administration that a fair, serious agreement would: apply to all steel products, rather than exclusively hot-rolled steel; ensure that there is a significant decrease in total Russian steel imports into the U.S.; raise the price of Russian imports to a level that would be comparable to U.S. domestic steel prices; and include a commitment from the European Union that it will absorb a significant portion of Russian steel exports that are currently bound for U.S. ports," noted Traficant and his colleagues.
"Steel producers in our districts have been forced to make serious cutbacks in production, which has resulted in thousands of layoffs," noted the Steel Caucus members. "The situation could become even more critical because it has been reported that several hundred tons of Russian hot rolled steel is sitting in bonded warehouses at U.S. ports right now, avoiding the payment of antidumping duties and awaiting entry after a suspension agreement is reached."
In October the House, by a vote of 345 to 44, approved a non-binding resolution authored by Traficant calling on the President to immediately investigate evidence that certain countries are illegally dumping steel products in the U.S. at below market prices. The Traficant resolution also called on the President to impose a one year ban on steel imports from any country found to be violating the spirit and intent of international trade agreements. Since House passage of his resolution, Traficant has been urging the Administration to take swift action to stop the illegal dumping of foreign-made steel.2009