As Congress prepares to give President Barack Obama expedited powers to “fast-track” trade deals through Congress, many U.S. steel mills and skeptics of Obama’s trade agenda are worried about steel dumping, the term commonly used to describe countries selling steel below market price.
In an interview with The Huffington Post on Tuesday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), one of the many Democrats feuding with their party’s president over the trade debate raging in the Senate, explained why steel dumping is an issue for communities such as his hometown of Cleveland.
As early as Thursday, the Senate is set to vote on legislation that will give Obama what is known as trade promotion authority, which would allow him to shepherd the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals through Congress with a simple up-or-down vote and no amendments. Without an amendment to the TPA bill ensuring stricter enforcement against steel dumping, Brown argues, the unfair trading practices plaguing the U.S. steel industry will continue.
A “vibrant steel industry,” Brown said, is a “national security issue” that is being toyed with because of the failure to crack down on steel dumping and similar practices.