Ohio labor leaders and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan say the U.S. Commerce Department decision to levy tariffs against nine countries including South Korea will keep the local steel industry on equal footing with foreign competitors.
There have been 100 workers laid off in Ohio because of these illegal-dumping practices from countries trying to get part of the market for producing steel pipe for the oil and gas industry, said Patrick Gallagher, United Steelworkers representative.
If foreign governments were allowed to continue to dump subsidized steel into the U.S. market, more than half the domestic steel jobs in the country would be at risk, he said.
Ryan, of Howland, D-13th, said the subsidies for steel from South Korea were so high that the cost for the finished product from South Korea was the same as just the raw material for U.S. firms.
“U.S. companies have invested a lot of money in mills, but they’re not going to continue to do so without a level playing field,” he said.
Local companies JMC Steel and Vallourec Star were supportive of this Commerce Department ruling, Ryan said.
The action was necessary to provide American steel manufacturers a chance to compete, said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga.
“This is a win for Ohio workers,” he said.