- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2009

At a time when the country urgently needs to unite behind an economic recovery plan that can help jump-start the economy and create American jobs, we are startled that The Washington Timeswould attack positive steps under way to ensure these jobs are created in the United States (“U.S. steel’s bailout,” Editorial, Jan. 9).

American taxpayers deserve to know that their hard-earned dollars will be spent on products they made. For example, in 2007, it came to light that the Department of Homeland Security was using Chinese steel to build the border fence with Mexico. This revelation not only slapped every working American in the face, but also showed that the federal government was compromising our national security and rewarding China, a country that has consistently cheated in its trading practices.

It is also vitally important to ensure the use of quality products so that we do not have to pay to construct the same project in the future. Chinese steel products are consistently shown to be of lower quality, which leads to serious safety concerns with their use in federal construction projects.

Also, your assertion that the “Chinese have been better at producing steel at lower costs for the U.S.” is false. The American steel industry can compete against any other steel industry in the world, but it cannot compete against foreign governments. The Chinese government does not play by the rules when it illegally subsidizes its industry and controls its currency’s exchange rate. These actions enable China to evade market forces and falsely gain a 40 percent competitive advantage over U.S.-manufactured goods, which has contributed to America’s $256 billion trade deficit with China. Provisions of the Buy American plan are a common-sense way to focus U.S. taxpayer dollars on rapidly creating manufacturing jobs here in America, and not overseas.

America’s steel industry is ready, willing and able to provide high-quality, competitively priced, American-made steel for any shovel-ready project. On behalf of manufacturing jobs in our states and America’s first-class workers, we support the broad-based benefits of an economic recovery plan with a Buy American provision.





Vice chairman

Congressional Steel Caucus


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