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Economy and Business


Ohio liberal, Alabama conservative unite on one issue: Steel imports
Sherrod Brown and Jeff Sessions use a new steel import report to push for more tariffs, especially on South Korean pipe
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown at a rally in Lorain last week pushing for tariffs on Korean steel.
Courtesy of KEVIN NIEDERMIER
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A new report from the Economic Policy Institute says there’s way too much steel in the world, and a lot of it is being dumped in the U.S. – threatening half a million domestic-steel jobs. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the growing campaign for more tariffs.

LISTEN: New manufacturing report says U.S. steel is facing an import crisis

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Jeff Session’s southern drawl and Sherrod Brown’s gravelly baritone are singing in harmony. The conservative Alabama Republican and liberal Ohio Democrat are pushing U.S. trade officials to change this summer a preliminary ruling that exempts South Korea from tariffs on the steel pipe it ships to the U.S.

They’re re making that push using a new report by the American Enterprise Institute, backed by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. The study calls the steel market “the biggest import crisis since 2001” and cites state-subsidized Chinese steel – some shipped through South Korea --  as a major cause.

The supply keeps the price of steel pipe cheap for the fracking industry that’s burgeoning in Ohio. But neither Sessions nor Brown see that as a reason the U.S. should not intervene.

“Drilling in the Marcellus Shale areas is a profitable business already. It can be very profitable if they’re using U.S. Steel from Lorain or Vallourec steel from Youngstown or any of the other companies in this country,” said Brown. “And it’s a little bit like arguing it’s OK for people to buy stolen TV’s just because they’re cheaper.”

Brown argues the foreign pipe production is illegal because it’s subsidized by foreign governments.

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