|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
Youngstown, Ohio – U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) said today that when it comes to Clinton Administration's response to the continuing steel crisis "actions speak louder than words." Traficant was responding to a statement made earlier today by President Clinton that the White House is committed to a full, timely enforcement of U.S. trade laws in relation to the continued surge of cut-rate foreign steel imports. "For months I have been urging the Administration to simply enforce U.S. trade laws," said Traficant. "While Administration officials have preached the gospel of free trade, hundreds of American steelworkers have been laid off. Although the President's remarks were encouraging, it's time for the Administration to stop posturing and take concrete action."
Last month the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution authored by Traficant calling on the President to ban steel imports from any country found to be violating U.S. antidumping laws and international trade agreements. Following the House vote on the Traficant resolution, which was non-binding, Traficant wrote to President Clinton urging him to adhere to the will of the House and take action to stem the surge of cut-rate foreign steel imports.
"My staff was informed by a Clinton Administration official last month that the Commerce Department and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative have been closely monitoring this situation for months," noted Traficant. "There is an abundance of statistical data to back up the claims of U.S. steel companies that foreign steelmakers are illegally dumping low-priced steel into the U.S. There is also an abundance of evidence that this illegal dumping has caused considerable damage to the U.S. steel industry and U.S. steelworkers."
Traficant asserted that "the time has come and gone for the President to express concern. The time has come and gone for the President to consult with our trading partners. The time has come and gone for the Commerce Department to issue new regulations. The time has come to take action to stop the damage that is being done to an industry vital to our economic base and national security," added Traficant. "If, over the next two months, the President does not exercise all of the options available to him under U.S. trade law, then it will be incumbent upon the new Congress to force the President's hand." Traficant intends to introduce legislation on the first day of the 106th Congress to beef up the enforcement mechanisms in U.S. trade law.
Earlier this month Traficant filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed in October by Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation against 15 foreign steelmakers. Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel is based in St. Clairsville, Ohio. A hearing on the case will be held in federal court next week in Columbus, Ohio. Traficant is expected to be subpoenaed to testify at the hearing. This Thursday Traficant will be the keynote speaker at a "Stand Up For Steel" rally in Weirton, West Virginia.2009