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Brewster Resolution Calls on Federal Officials to Protect Steel Industry, Jobs

The state Senate adopted a resolution sponsored by state Sen. Jim Brewster that urges the President and other federal officials to strongly enforce trade laws to protect the domestic steel industry from unfair foreign competition.

"The domestic steel industry is in dire need of help from Washington," Brewster said. "We are being inundated with subsidized imports from foreign countries.

"Federal officials need to recognize the problem and prevent cheap foreign-made steel from taking jobs away from steelworkers and bankrupting steel companies."

Finished steel imports increased by 36 percent in 2014 and captured 29 percent of the steel market in 2015.   Domestic steel shipments declined 12 percent in 2015 and plant capacity was running at just 70 percent.

"The playing field is tilted toward China and other countries that subsidize steel manufacturing," Brewster said. "The result is that our own steel industry is at a severe competitive disadvantage."

Brewster said that steel industries and their suppliers account for more than 1 million jobs. There are approximately 136,000 jobs that are related to steel manufacturing in Pennsylvania.

Two years ago, U.S. Steel announced that it was mothballing a steel manufacturing facility in McKeesport with the result that 250 workers lost their jobs.

"The United States has a wide-open market for steel and this policy has resulted in job loss and plant closures," Brewster said. "It is patently unfair for foreign countries to subsidize steel manufacturing and then dump the product here."

The lawmaker has introduced a package of bills (Senate Bill 417, Senate Bill 418, Senate Bill 419) designed to ensure that domestic steel is being used in shale drilling activities.

Brewster's resolution was approved on June 30.

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