Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Steel equips the military. Dependence on China and Russia would be a huge mistake.

We’ve written pretty extensively about the devastating impact that China’s steel overcapacity is having on American workers and steel communities nationwide.

But the steel imports crisis also is putting our national security at risk.

Steel is essential for America’s military, as it is used in the construction of everything from ships and tanks to armaments. It’s also a key component of our infrastructure (including in the energy sector).

If America was no longer was able to manufacture its own steel — and as we learned at multiple hearings this week, the industry is at a make-or-break moment right now — we would have to depend on other steel producing nations for our steel supply.

Countries like China. And Russia. You know, nations with whom we have zero disputes and so there's no chance we'd get into conflict with them at all.

Simply put, it is in America’s best interest to ensure we maintain a robust domestic steel industry, as Brigadier General John Adams, U.S. Army (Ret.) noted.

“We cannot sit idly by as our most dangerous strategic competitors rob us of the capability that ensure our weapons and equipment have a reliable source of steel for the future,” he said. “The time is now to address this national security challenge to our domestic steel production capability.”

Adams also outlined these concerns in an email sent to Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) supporters, in which he urged them to tell the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and Commerce Department to implement a plan to address the steel imports crisis.

“Like our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, our steelworkers stand guard in our steel mills, our mines, and our assembly plants, ensuring that our warriors have the weapons and equipment they need to win on the battlefield,” he wrote. “We can’t let them — or our country — down.”

Adams isn’t the only person sounding the alarm. Witnesses at the USTR and Congressional Steel Caucus hearings this week also noted that steel is essential to our national security, including company executives, union leaders, industry experts and Members of Congress.

“Steel is used in our ships, armor plate, submarines, and countless other types of military vehicles and equipment,” said Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), the vice chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus. “Twenty-two tons of steel plate are used in every Abrams tank. Fifty thousand tons of steel plate are used in every aircraft carrier, and half of that steel is made in Northwest Indiana.”

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), the caucus chairman, said: “We can never fall into a position of relying on foreign government-owned enterprises to meet American steel needs.”

So what can be done to address the problem? AAM outlined the problem in a new white paper released this week, and we also included a number of critical action items for policymakers, including:

  • Proactive use of our trade enforcement laws;
  • Securing binding commitments from our trading partners to reduce global overcapacity;
  • Maintaining China’s non-market-economy status;
  • Implementing rules to counter anticompetitive behavior of state-owned entities; and
  • Domestic content sourcing policies in government procurement.

You can help as well. Join Adams and thousands of other AAM supporters who already have told the USTR and Commerce Department to take meaningful action to address the steel surge.

Read the new white paper, Steel Import Surge Threatens U.S. National Security.

Save Our Steel Jobs — Before It's Too Late

Roughly 13,500 Americans have been laid-off and major steel mills across the country have closed because of an unprecedented surge in subsidized steel imports from countries like China.

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