There is no doubt the world is becoming a far more dangerous place. From the belligerent threats from Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Iran working to develop nuclear weapons to the continued rise in terrorist activity that ISIS takes credit for, the American people are increasingly less confident about the security of our country. At a time when national security is among our highest priorities, can we really allow the U.S. steel industry to continue to decline?
American steel has been decimated by the practice of “dumping” subsidized cheap foreign steel on the world market at prices that undercut our steel production. Governments in Russia, Turkey, Taiwan, and Vietnam subsidize their domestic steel production, allowing their manufacturers to flood the market with cheap steel. This drives prices down to where American producers simply can not compete. Since 2000, this has lead to the lost of 48,000 jobs in the American steel industry, including 4,000 lost jobs in 2015 alone.
The decline of the U.S. steel industry at the hands of foreign manufacturers puts more than the jobs of hardworking Americans at risk, it is also a major threat to our national security. President Donald Trump, in April, called for a Department of Commerce investigation on the impact of foreign steel on our national security, and to take needed actions to address the findings. The president promised improvements in our infrastructure as well as rebuilding our defensive capability along with bringing back the American steel industry to support both of those goals.
Five months has since passed the result of the Commerce Dept. report are overdue, and Trump has admitted he wants to wait to take action on this issue. The longer the president waits to take action on steel imports, the more this endangers American national security. The U.S. will lose ability to domestically source materials that are vital to our national security. If we do not act against the current unfair trade practices by foreign actors, we will be fostering a great dependence on countries like China and Russia for our important military resources. We must reverse this trend before it’s too late, and begin to regain control over these supplies within our borders.
As a candidate, Trump ran on a strong platform of bringing back American manufacturing and urging the buying of American made products. Regarding the steel industry, Trump pledged to end unfair practices that have led the decline of America’s most iconic industries. These promises, along with his pledges to bring back American jobs, gained millions of votes around the country as well as key votes in the election-deciding states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Many voters saw Donald Trump as the man who promised to finally support long-forgotten works and industries.
We can hope that President Trump will make good on his promises, and reverse our country’s over reliance on foreign steel, helping us regain our ability to produce the key materials need to rebuild our military capability. Steel imports up 21.4% this year, so it is time for the president to fulfill the promises and act now to protect the security of our nation.