OIT Times: Keynote Luncheon Address--Senator Jay Rockefeller
March 27, 2001
Senator Jay Rockefeller fairly bristled at the injustices foisted upon U.S. steel mills by a Federal government unwilling to enforce existing trade laws. ike steel mills throughout the country, West Virginia mills have worked hard to modernize, improve energy efficiency, and decrease their environmental footprint, but they cannot compete against the artificially low prices of foreign steelmakers who receive heavy subsidies from their governments,he said.
hy are foreign governments subsidizing their steel industries? Quite simply, steelmaking is vital to any modern nation. Unfortunately, subsidized industries have led to global overcapacity, with excess product sold cheaply to the United States. This uneven playing field has forced 16 U.S. steel mills to declare bankruptcy in the last three years./p>
oth Vice President Cheney and Treasury Secretary Oeill have voiced their support for steel, yet larger political agendas are preventing any real remedy. The effects are taking their toll in West Virginia, and on a national level we risk losing this invaluable industry. We must urge President Bush to keep his promise and ask the U.S. International Trade Commission, in accordance with Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Laws, to determine whether the practice has caused substantial injury to the industry. If the answer is affirmative, the President can then impose sanctions or other measures./p>
utside of enforcing trade laws, government must also work with industry to encourage investment in R&D and in the education of our next generation,said Rockefeller. This is why he fought for the Research Experimentation Tax Credit, which rewards private R&D investment. It is why hel be fighting again this year to double federal R&D funding over the next 10 years. The Senator is deeply committed to partnership between government and industry. hether the issue is trade laws, R&D, or education, this type of partnership is essential to successfully navigate the new global economy,he said.