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Oct-20-2006 22:34printcomments

Governor Fights For Oregon Steel Jobs at The U.S. Trade Commission

As of August, the latest month for which national data are available, Oregon ranked sixth of the 50 states for job growth in manufacturing, and tenth for jobs overall, since January 2003.

Oregon Steel`s steel coil facility
Oregon Steel's Steel Coil facility
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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski on Friday urged the U.S. International Trade Commission to consider Oregon Steels Mills’ importance to the state’s economy as the commission reviews its rules relating to imports of plate steel from other countries.

“… [T]he company today provides 1,900 jobs to our residents, and is an important contributor to our state and local economies,” the Governor told the ITC in written testimony. “Oregon Steel Mills is only one of two U.S. producers of armor plate. This product made to retrofit armor kits for Humvees and military police vehicles, as well as other products used to protect our nation’s servicemen and service women.”

Fearing that a change in ITC policy might result in a flood of imports that could jeopardize the plate steel industry in America, the Governor stressed that the ITC’s present rules have ensured that unfairly trade steel products have not disrupted the domestic market.

“More importantly, the existing orders have also allowed the domestic industry and Oregon Steel Mills to compete on a level playing field,” the Governor told the ITC. A strong plate steel business is critical to the economic well-being and economic survival of Oregon Steel Mills, he added.

The Governor also noted that Oregon Steel Mills works closely with the Port of Portland on the transport of goods, resulting in new berths at the Port.

“Oregon workers can compete with anyone in the world, provided they have a level playing field,” the Governor said. “It’s critical that we continue to block unfairly traded goods to retain the living-wage jobs of our manufacturing sector. Oregon Steel Mills is an important part of our state and local economy.”

Despite years of strong gains, the steel industry faces an uncertain future because of increasing imports and declining demand in the U.S. market. Oregon Steel Mills is the sole remaining plate rolling mill in the western United States.

The Governor noted that Oregon continues to buck the national trend in manufacturing, which is the greatest source of family-wage jobs in Oregon’s economy. Monday’s jobs report shows a seasonal gain of 700 manufacturing jobs.

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Scott Levy, host of October 21, 2006 5:08 pm (Pacific time)

The Governor says, "It’s critical that we continue to block unfairly traded goods . . ." At the same time, we do not ask shippers through the Columbia/Snake lockage system to pay for the energy lost for each lock flush (about a million dollars worth per year). This seems like unfair trade to me. Other shippers pay their fuel costs. Why do we not ask Columbia/Snake shippers to pay for theirs? Fairness or hypocrisy.

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