Local President Opposes Tax Breaks for Foreign Steel(1)

Ohio Local 1943 President and Directing Business Representative Scott Rich testified this week in Washington D.C. on behalf of hundreds of IAM members employed at AK Steel in Middletown, OH. The IAM members are concerned that their jobs could be at risk if the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Board approves an exemption for duty payments on raw materials used in export production for ThyssenKrupp, a German steel manufacturer.

“This is a classic example of a foreign-owned company seeking an unfair advantage at the expense of U.S. workers and taxpayers,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn Tucker. “We need a thorough review of any deal that would enable a company based outside of North America to receive better than domestic companies, to the detriment of our workers.”

ThyssenKrupp’s application for the duty-exempt status follows the construction of a new carbon and stainless steel plant near Mobile, AL, which was chosen after an incentive-packed bidding war.

“If approved, this exemption would allow ThyssenKrupp to import raw materials duty free,” said Rich. “No other steel company in the United States, including ours, has such a designation.  “With our mill and most every other mill running well below capacity, it seems unnecessary to us for the federal government to advantage a foreign company over domestic manufacturers,” said Rich. “We sincerely hope they consider the impact this decision could have on our jobs, our industry and our economy.”