Brown Working to Protect Workers at Ohio-Based Company Cleveland-Cliffs, Whose Electrical Steel Products are Critical to Grid Infrastructure and National Security – But are Being Undercut by Russia & China
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) fought to protect Ohio workers by filing a bipartisan amendment with Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) to strengthen trade protections for U.S. steel workers in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which the Senate is considering this week. Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest producer of flat-rolled steel in North America and North America’s only producer of grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES), which is used in U.S. electrical grid transformers. But right now, Russia and China are circumventing U.S. trade laws by shifting their typical steel production to GOES and moving these products through Canada and Mexico, in order to get around U.S. steel tariffs.
Cleveland-Cliffs employs thousands of workers in good-paying union jobs between its plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Not only are U.S. jobs at risk due to this circumvention, but U.S. national security could also be impacted if the U.S. has no choice but to buy foreign GOES products from China and Russia for things like our electrical grid. As a result, Brown introduced a bipartisan amendment to protect and prioritize U.S. production.
“Cleveland-Cliffs isn’t just the last producer of grain-oriented electrical steel in the U.S. – it’s the last producer in the continent. And, for too long, trade cheats have shuttered plants across our state, put Ohioans out of work, and distorted global markets,” said Brown. “If we don’t address the threat posed by this tariff circumvention activity, it will require American companies to buy GOES from Chinese and Russian manufacturers, costing us jobs and creating a serious national security threat. This bipartisan amendment, combined with my strong Buy America provisions, will keep jobs in Ohio and ensure our power grids aren’t being built by foreign adversaries.”
“I greatly appreciate the strong bipartisan leadership of Senators Brown, Casey and Cassidy in offering this amendment, which calls on USTR to negotiate and resolve this recurring problem with Mexico and Canada once and for all. Domestic production of electrical steels is critical to the modernization and greening of America’s electric grid and to the electrification of the American vehicle fleet. However, unfair trade practices have infected the domestic electrical steel market, first through the prevalence of dumped and subsidized imports of Grain Oriented Electrical Steel (GOES), and more recently through the circumvention of the steel tariffs involving the importation of electrical steel laminations and cores produced in Mexico and Canada from GOES produced overseas. As Congress prepares to invest billions of dollars to upgrade America’s electric power infrastructure, it is imperative that this circumvention activity be addressed in order to preserve not only our ability to continue to produce electrical steels in the United States, but also to preserve and grow the significant number of good paying middle-class union jobs associated to the production of GOES by Americans, for our own benefit in the United States,” said Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
“Our national security depends on goods produced from Grain Oriented Electrical Steel by UAW members in Ohio and Pennsylvania. This once thriving industry, decimated by tariffs and steel dumping from foreign competitors, primarily China, leave only Cleveland-Cliffs production available. It is imperative to preserve these U.S. good paying union jobs and to protect our national security interest by making sure this industry can be competitive and produced on-shore. To protect 1400 jobs and prevent reliance on foreign steel it is crucial that the bi-partisan infrastructure bill include this important amendment,” said Ray Curry, President of the United Auto Workers.
Brown’s amendment would prioritize U.S. jobs and national security by directing the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to enter into negotiations with Canada and Mexico to ensure that:
- The national security of the United States is not impaired through the importation of GOES core parts, laminations, and cores for use in our electric grid transformers; and
- Canada and Mexico are not being used as staging grounds for tariff circumvention.
The amendment would also require USTR to submit a status report to Congress every 90 days until Mexico and Canada agree to measures that will prevent the importation of GOES core parts from impairing U.S. national security.
Brown’s bipartisan amendment can be viewed HERE.