Press Releases

Jaime Herrera Beutler Stands Up for Southwest Washington Steel Workers, Jobs

Jaime urges president to consider west coast steel jobs, take targeted trade action that won’t ensnare trading allies and harm Southwest Washington families

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Washington, D.C. , March 7, 2018 | comments
U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler today formally urged President Trump to weigh negative impacts on Southwest Washington jobs and families as he moves toward placing tariffs on steel imported into the U.S. In a letter sent today, Jaime requested that the president refrain from imposing tariffs on key steel-exporting allies such as Australia, and focus any action on the twelve countries outlined in Commerce Secretary Ross’ report that unfairly distort their steel prices.
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U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler today formally urged President Trump to weigh negative impacts on Southwest Washington jobs and families as he moves toward placing tariffs on steel imported into the U.S. In a letter sent today, Jaime requested that the president refrain from imposing tariffs on key steel-exporting allies such as Australia, and focus any action on the twelve countries outlined in Commerce Secretary Ross’ report that unfairly distort their steel prices.

Jaime has consistently worked to protect good-paying jobs at Steelscape’s plant in Cowlitz County and throughout the region. 

Below is the full text of Jaime’s letter, or it can be viewed by clicking here. 

Dear President Trump:

I am writing to you in response to your announced intention to impose 25 percent tariffs on all imported steel. As a Member of Congress from a state in which the steel company Steelscape has significant operations, I am concerned about the impact global duties will have on communities and workers. I respectfully urge you exclude exporters vital to the economy, particularly key allies such as Australia, and focus on the twelve countries specifically outlined in your initial report. As you know, Secretary of Defense Mattis also noted that he supports targeted tariffs as being more advantageous than a global quota or tariff.

Despite its affiliation with a domestic steel manufacturing company in Ohio, Steelscape is one of several West Coast steel producers that rely on imports from the Pacific Rim because of the natural trade barriers of the Rocky Mountains. The transportation costs of steel shipped by rail from the Midwest to the West Coast costs an average of $65 a ton more than steel arriving by ship from Australia and Japan. Specifically, Steelscape imports hot-rolled steel from Australia through the Ports of Kalama and Vancouver in Washington state.

As a supplier of metallic-coated and pre-painted steel products that are used in residential and commercial buildings, Steelscape plays an important role in my state as an employer of hundreds of my constituents. The company also serves as a supplier to thousands of downstream small businesses that rely on its technologically-advanced products. In addition, steel imported through Washington state's Ports of Kalama and Vancouver support family-wage maritime and transportation jobs, including longshore workers, stevedores, truck drivers, rail workers, and U.S. logistics support workers. According to some estimates, West Coast ports support nine million U.S. jobs and have an economic impact of more than a trillion dollars annually.

My interest is in protecting well-paying jobs in an area of my state with unemployment higher than the national average. I am confident that it is possible to punish the bad actors responsible for flooding U.S. markets with dumped steel without taking action that results in harm to families, schools, and communities. Accordingly, I ask you to consider the unique situation of companies like Steelscape that depend on imported steel to survive as American steel producers, and urge you to focus on the bad actors specifically outlined in Secretary Ross’s report.
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