Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chinese steel an issue in Pennsylvania primary

A bit late with this one, not being well up on US politics, but I spotted the link over at stamping out a living.

Anyway, it seems that in the once thriving steel area of Sharon, feelings are running high on the impact Chinese imports have had on the local steel industry.

SHARON, Pa. — In the hollowed-out towns where steel plants once thrived, business and labor are uniting to demand that presidential contenders stand up to a growing threat to American steel — China.
Explosive growth in Chinese steel imports fueled by China's subsidies and questionable trade practices are triggering anti-China sentiments and fears for the future in American communities sustained for decades by the manufacture of steel.
Now, China's threat to American steel towns from Pittsburgh to Granite City is center stage in the debate over trade and globalization.
One such town, Sharon, Pa., sent a busload of steelworkers and community leaders 75 miles south to Pittsburgh last week to grill Democratic hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton about China in advance of Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary.
Passing out red leaflets proclaiming that "China Cheats," steelworkers and company executives demanded that the next president enforce trade laws and confront China over what they regard as unfair trade practices.
"What China is doing rips the heart out of your community," said Sharon Mayor Bob Lucas, a retired steelworker who recalled the razing last year of a 300,000-square-foot pipe plant that employed 350 people. "... They can ship pipe across the ocean cheaper than it costs us to buy the raw materials to make it. ..."
Until recently, the presidential candidates have seemed unwilling to confront China on such issues, perhaps believing that there are no easy solutions or realizing that such complex matters don't reduce easily to sound bites................read the full story here at STLtoday.

Back in the UK, our once world leading steel industry, is owned by the Indian Tata group, I hope that US politicians have more empathy for your basic industries, than ours have shown for the past forty years. Their battle cry has been "Selling England by the pound", and even the pound ain't worth much today :-(

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