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Tags: steel | national security | trump | section 232 | trade expansion act

Trump Shouldn't Put Steel National Security Review on Backburner

Trump Shouldn't Put Steel National Security Review on Backburner
A Chinese labourer stands near a furnace as he works at an unauthorized steel factory on November 3, 2016, in Inner Mongolia, China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Dan Perkins By Tuesday, 29 August 2017 02:04 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The laws on how we conduct business with other countries are very complex. They protect us from poison in paint, drywall, and drugs, among others. The items on the list of imports are almost endless. One area that needs very close attention is steel. In fact, last month President Trump gave notice that the National Security review of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act on steel might be going on the backburner.

In reply, CNN reporters Thomas J. Gibson and Chuck Schmitt recently published a story titled “The Crisis facing the US steel industry.” In their article they pointed out that in 2015, one in three tons of steel sold in the United States was made outside the country. Like with steel, foreign governments often provide subsidies to the product manufacturer. With steel in some countries, the government owns and runs the steel mills and low balls their steel prices to acquire market share and keep its plants running.

That football stadium you are going to on Sunday may have one-third of its steel structure produced outside the United States. America is embarking on a massive expansion of infrastructure and energy pipelines that will require millions of tons of steel. American steel companies should have a fair shot at these contracts. Remember Section 232 in the title: the government lists items it deems to be essential to national security. One is steel and the government needs to make sure it has access to what it requires.

The president in May directed the Secretary of Commerce to perform a review of trade policy to ensure that America has the steel it needs and is not at the mercy of foreign companies or governments. Steel's importance is something that is critical to our national security. Putting that review on the backburner could harm our steel manufacturers and our readiness.

With the decline in the global economy from the great recession of 2008 and 2009, steel-making capacity out-stripped demand. Many countries encouraged their companies to turn out massive amounts of steel and flood the world with this cheap product. With foreign government-supported prices, many American steel companies have found it hard to compete and have downsized or are closing their plants.

You may be asking yourself; shouldn’t we be able to buy cheap steel? If America buys cheap steel, our steel mills may not be profitable and remain open. Every time a steel mill closes because of steel imports, we become more and more vulnerable and less secure. We must be able to manufacture what we need in order to protect ourselves, especially in the area of defense spending.

Many readers are not old enough to remember the Hunt Brothers of Texas and their attempt to corner the silver market in 1979.

The Hunt Brothers weren’t alone; they had Arab partners who in 1979 created the third Arab oil embargoes against the United States. The first Arab embargo was during the 1967 Arab/Israeli war and the second in 1973-74. I remember odd and even days to get gas with pumps often running out. The point of this stroll down nightmare lane is that we did not develop our abundant energy resources and we become dependent on foreign oil necessary to run our country. Nor should we with steel.

If we continue to allow steel imports to take increased market shares, we become exposed to the whims of foreign leaders and governments as to the amount and price of the steel they will send us. With steel being vitally necessary to our national security and defense industries, we must look to these import arrangements regarding fair trade. If countries are undercutting steel by flooding the market with subsidized government pricing, then we must increase import sanctions on that steel. It took from 1967 to 2017 or 50 years for America to become energy independent.

If we lose our steel industry, I’m not sure we can get it back in 50 years; I would prefer not to have to try. That review should not be put on the backburner.

Dan Perkins is an author of both thrillers and children’s books. He appears on over 1,100 radio stations. Mr. Perkins appears regularly on international TV talk shows, he is current events commentator for seven blogs, and a philanthropist with his foundation for American veterans, Songs and Stories for Soldiers, Inc. More information about him, his writings, and other works are available on his website, DanPerkins.guru. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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That football stadium you are going to on Sunday may have one-third of its steel structure produced outside the United States.
steel, national security, trump, section 232, trade expansion act
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 02:04 PM
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