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American Shipper

Steel importers detail tariff impact in 2002-03

Steel importers detail tariff impact in 2002-03

   Though there seems to be no immediate need for it, a trade group representing steel importers has unveiled a new study showing the negative impact of the Section 201 steel duties on maritime employment in the years 2002 and 2003.

   The study, performed by consultant John Martin for the American Institute for International Steel, said that the Section 201 duties resulted in a reduction of 9.3 million tons of steel imports between March 2002 and December 2003 and resulted in maritime workers seeing a 22 million man hour reduction in hours worked.

   David Phelps, president of AIIS, said while there did not appear to be any immediate threat by the U.S. steel industry to file new trade complaints against steel imports, the new study might be useful in the future.

   “This study creates an econometric model that we can use to predict future maritime industry job impacts should the domestic steel industry file massive trade cases or another Section 201. AIIS will circulate this study to the relevant maritime, state and federal government level decision makers,” he said.

   “Over 73 percent of the damage was done to the largest steel ports, which are part of the critical international lifelines of our nation’s economy ' New Orleans (including Baton Rouge and lower Mississippi River ports), the Delaware River Ports, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Houston and Great Lakes ports,” Martin said.

   Dennis Rochford, president of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay and Director of AIIS said the study “makes clear that trade protection has consequences for the health of the maritime industry, a point that, as part of the Free Trade in Steel Coalition, we made on the two occasions we testified before the International Trade Commission.”

   Rochford noted that in addition to losing wages, some dockworkers saw the number of hours they worked fall to the point where they lost fringe benefits such as health care and retirement contributions.

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