POTUS addresses steel imports crisis during National Governors Association Winter Meeting.
President Obama promised on Monday to use new tools in the just-passed Customs and Trade Enforcement Bill to take action against China’s dumping of state-subsidized goods such as steel into the U.S. market.
During the National Governors Association Winter Meeting at the White House, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton asked the president if he could “be more aggressive” to address the steel import crisis. More than 12,000 steelworkers have been laid off — including about 2,000 people on Minnesota’s Iron Range — because of the unprecedented surge in subsidized steel imports from China.
Obama acknowledged that China’s massive industrial overcapacity is leading to the crisis, and said that the new customs legislation (which he promised to sign) will allow his administration to “take more aggressive actions." He added:
I don’t think it’s any secret that China in the past has not always operated fairly. They are now in a process were they are trying to transition their economic model. They realize that they can’t forever sustain an export-driven growth model, but it’s going to take some time, and it’s temping for them to solve short-term problems by just dumping a bunch of state-subsidized goods into the U.S. market. And we’ve been very clear with them about, that’s not going to work, we’re going to put in place tools to make sure it doesn’t work.
But Obama also cautioned that it is “important that we don’t get confused by thinking that we should close-off trade as an enforcement tool because that is not possible. What is possible is making sure that everybody is on a level playing field.”
Check out Obama’s full remarks below.