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Cochran, Wicker pleased with ITC ruling on imported rebar

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker

Thad Cochran

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) are supporting a decision that they say will benefit U.S. steel producers in Mississippi and other states by allowing the United States to act against the unfair surge in imported steel reinforcing bar or “rebar.”

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has reached a unanimous determination that rebar imports from Mexico and Turkey are unlawfully threatening or damaging the U.S. rebar industry. The decision, supported by Cochran and Wicker, clears the way for the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose antidumping duties against Mexican and Turkish rebar.

“American steel workers and manufacturers can compete with workers anywhere in the world, but a level playing field is required.  I am pleased with this decision that will create more opportunity for U.S. rebar producers to succeed,” Cochran said.

In September, Cochran and Wicker were among a bipartisan group of 36 senators who strongly encouraged the ITC to favorably complete its review of the Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico and Turkey Inv. Nos. 701 TA-502 and 731-TA-1227-1228 (Final Phase) petition. Filed in 2013, the primary petitioner is the Rebar Trade Action Coalition. Nucor Corp., which has operations in Starkville and Flowood, is a member of the coalition. The ITC petition indicates that the case affects nine producers with facilities in 23 states that employed 4,167 workers in 2012.

In a letter to ITC Chairman Meredith Broadbent that criticized unfair imports from Mexico and Turkey, the senators wrote, “Since 2010, these imports have flooded the U.S. market at the direct expense of U.S. producers, who have seen their share of the market drop dramatically.  Capacity utilization rates are at historically low levels — near 60 percent — and production levels have yet to recover from the recession.”

The Mississippi senators in April also signed correspondence to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker that highlighted unfair trade practices associated with Turkish and Mexican steel imports. Last year, Cochran and Wicker were part of a similar case involving the extension of existing antidumping duties now imposed on rebar produced in China, Indonesia, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Moldova and Poland.

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