Steelworkers, others to protest South Korean trade practices

GRANITE CITY – Groups including local steelworkers are gathering Friday to protest over what they say is the unfair advantage that South Korea and other countries have in steel imports.

The Granite City Chamber of Commerce, Alliance for American Manufacturing and United Steel Workers will gather at 3 p.m. Friday, May 16, at Civic Park located at Niedringhaus Avenue and 20th Street.

The rally will speak to “a pending crisis” of America’s steel producers of Oil Country Tubular Goods, which are facing what is being called an enormous threat from illegal foreign competition.

OCTG are the steel pipe products used in the extraction of oil and natural gas and play a critical role in the nation’s quest to become energy independent, according to a letter being circulated by local supporters.

“Domestic producers employ thousands of dedicated American workers who use state-of-the-art technology to ensure that these products meet the highest standards,” the letter states.

“But these jobs are in jeopardy due to an alarming and rapid surge of OCTG imports into the U.S. market, primarily from South Korea. There is overwhelming evidence that these foreign OCTG products are being illegally dumped in the U.S. market – at prices below fair value and in deceptive ways designed to circumvent international trade laws,” the letter says.

In July 2013, domestic steel producers filed a trade case that is now pending at the U.S. Department of Commerce. A final decision will be made in early July 2014, “and it is critical that our government fully investigates South Korea’s cheating. The jobs of thousands of dedicated American workers are on the line,” the letter says.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing will have a table with Save Our Steel Jobs petitions that it will be asking rally participants to sign. Petitions will be sent to local congress persons, senators , the governor and the administration asking for their support.

Here is the full text of a letter that ralliers have been encouraged to send to their congressmen:

“America’s steel producers of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) are facing an enormous threat from illegal foreign competition. Your leadership is needed to ensure that our trade laws are enforced and that those who break the rules are held accountable.

“OCTG are the steel pipe products used in the extraction of oil and natural gas and play a critical role in our quest to become energy independent. Domestic producers employ thousands of dedicated American workers who use state-of-the-art technology to ensure that these products meet the highest standards.

“But these jobs are in jeopardy due to an alarming and rapid surge of OCTG imports into the U.S. market, primarily from South Korea. There is overwhelming evidence that these foreign OCTG products are being illegally dumped in the U.S. market – at prices below fair value and in deceptive ways designed to circumvent international trade laws.

“In July 2013, domestic steel producers filed a trade case that is now pending at the U.S. Department of Commerce. A final decision will be made in early July 2014, and it is critical that our government fully investigates South Korea’s cheating. The jobs of thousands of dedicated American workers are on the line.

“This blatant, continued rule-breaking at the expense of American manufacturing companies and workers cannot be tolerated. I am counting on you to tell the Department of Commerce that our trade laws must be enforced. Our trading partners – including South Korea – must play by the rules in our market.”

 

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