October 19, 2006

Six automotive companies testify to end duties on corrosion resistant steel

Washington D.C. – Representatives of DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota marked the first time all six companies have united on a trade issue, as they testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to urge a termination of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on corrosion resistant steel, a product used extensively in automobile manufacturing.

“The auto companies have come together to call for an end to special duties on corrosion resistant steel,” says Steve Biegun, Vice-President, International Government Affairs at Ford Motor Company. “These duties are imposing a punishing cost upon U.S.-based manufacturers and are a backdoor tax on American consumers. A revitalized, profitable and healthy U.S. steel industry does not need special protection. We have urged the Commissioners to not only take our word for it, but to listen to what steel industry executives are telling Wall Street about their business forecast – long-term profitability and new pricing power.”

The U.S. auto and auto parts industry is responsible for the employment of 2.4 million Americans; the six automotive companies together purchase US$200 billion annually in materials, parts and services for their U.S. operations. All six companies buy the majority of steel used in their U.S. operations from U.S. steel mills, but say they must maintain the ability to obtain key materials for their vehicle assembly plants dependably and at globally competitive prices.

The ITC is required to conduct a “sunset review” on antidumping and countervailing duties every five years. The duties will be lifted unless the ITC finds that the steel industry is likely to face material injury as a result. The duties on corrosion resistant steel have been in place since 1993 on imports from Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan and Korea.

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