Congressman Tim Ryan's Statement on Thomas Steel Strip Winning ITC Case

May 9, 2014 Issues: Helping Working Families

Congressman Tim Ryan made the following statement today in response to Thomas Steel Strip in Warren successfully petitioning the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to impose antidumping penalties on steel imports from Japan:

“Today’s affirmative ruling in favor of Thomas Steel Strip is another example of tough measures being taken by the Obama Administration to protect our local industries against the blatantly unfair trade practices that continue to undermine jobs and profits in Ohio and across the nation. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to submit testimony in this case, and I’m pleased that the ITC sided on behalf of my constituent company and its workers.”

Congressman Ryan’s testimony can be found in text format below or in PDF format here.

Testimony of Congressman Tim Ryan

Before the United States International Trade Commission

Hearing on Diffusion Annealed Nickel Plated Steel from Japan

April 1, 2014

I would like to thank the members of the U.S. International Trade Commission for the opportunity to submit this testimony as you consider the petition filed by Thomas Steel Strip Corporation (TSS) for antidumping duties on unfairly traded imports of diffusion annealed nickel plate from Japan.

Let me begin by telling you how valuable a company like TSS is, not only to my district, but to our economy as a whole.  TSS currently employs over 260 people in Warren, Ohio, represented by the United Steelworkers of America, Local 3523.  These jobs are helping to support the economic growth of the Mahoning Valley in northeastern Ohio.  By investing in Ohio, TSS has placed its faith in the fact that we can provide the best workers to create a quality product that will be competitive with any other product in the marketplace.  A product that is made in the USA, and that consumers want to buy.

The nickel plate that TSS manufactures is a highly specialized product.  It is used to make alkaline batteries and certain automotive fuel lines, and is only produced in a few countries.  It is important to note that TSS is the only remaining domestic producer of nickel plate, and as such is focused on achieving sustainable business returns in order to provide continuing employment for its workforce.  This is a challenge that grows increasingly difficult as the playing field is tilted in favor of Japan.  Because of the low prices offered by imports from Japan – prices, it should be made clear, that are lower than those in Japan’s own market – TSS has lost substantial sales volume to dumped imports.  This includes a large share of the AA battery market, which comprises about sixty percent of all alkaline battery sales in the United States.

This loss of business has not come about through any fault of TSS, which is producing a high quality product and selling it on the market at a fair price.  Rather, the loss of business is a result of unfairly traded imports that are taking market share from TSS.  In the wake of these unfairly traded imports, TSS has been forced to reduce its prices in order to remain competitive.  It has also lost large sales volumes because it cannot offer prices that can compete with those from Japan.  Only a decade ago, TSS was the primary supplier of nickel plate to customers such as Duracell, Energizer and Rayovac (a brand name of Spectrum Brands).  Today, Japan has seized that market share with prices so low that TSS cannot match them without severe economic consequences. 

Nickel plate is of critical importance for TSS’s business model, and accounts for approximately three-quarters of its annual sales revenue.  It cannot reduce the price of its nickel plate further if it wishes to remain economically viable, nor should it have to in the face of unfair competition.  Companies like TSS, which remain committed to manufacturing their products in America with the help of our talented and dedicated work force, deserve better than to be injured by imports that are not sold at a fair price.

This Commission has preliminarily found that the U.S. industry has been materially injured, and the affirmative finding of dumping in the Department of Commerce’s preliminary determination yielded extremely high dumping margins.  This is an industry that is clearly being hurt.  It is an industry that should be competitive, that should be an industry that we can point to as an American success story, but faces an uphill battle in the presence of unfairly priced imports.  TSS has chosen to invest in America, but that investment will not pay off unless it can compete in an environment that has fair and competitive pricing.

TSS wants only one thing, and that is the opportunity to compete against fairly traded imports.  This is exactly the situation for which our trade remedy laws were created.  Without these laws, companies like TSS, and its workers, are at the mercy of unfairly traded goods with which they cannot compete.  This is disastrous not only for companies like TSS, but for the American economy.

I know that you will consider these issues and the application of the trade remedy laws carefully as you examine this case.  Thank you again for the opportunity to provide these comments for the record.