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AISI Urges Administration to Focus on Steps to Create Jobs by Boosting Manufacturing, as President Prepares to Deliver His State of the Union Address

 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As President Obama prepares to deliver his fourth State of the Union address, American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) President and CEO Thomas J. Gibson outlined three key issues requiring action to boost the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing, thereby stimulating the economy and creating high-value jobs. Gibson said that must entail a tough stance on trade law enforcement, authorizing a robust, long-term transportation bill, and developing and expanding access to America's domestic oil and natural gas resources.

"I'd like to hear the President articulate a strong message on trade enforcement," Gibson said.  "Strong and strictly enforced laws against unfair trade must be the cornerstone of any pro-manufacturing agenda.   Rising import penetration, for example, which we have seen in recent years, can steal market share from domestic manufacturers, thus limiting output and hiring," he said.  "We need to be vigilant against unfairly-traded imports curbing U.S. manufacturing's momentum.  In the trade arena, we'd also like to see the President take action to address foreign currency manipulation, since the Chinese government continues to maintain a 25 to 30% advantage over U.S. manufacturers by undervaluing its currency." 

"A globally competitive economy depends on an effective and efficient transportation infrastructure as it directly impacts the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector and creates significant demand for steel fabricated products," Gibson said.  "To get a multi-year transportation reauthorization passed, we urge the President to provide strong leadership on the tough issues, such as a realistic approach to funding and a compromise plan that both House and Senate can embrace, so that a bill can move forward funded at levels high enough to help restore our infrastructure system, put Americans back to work and stimulate the economy.   This is a bi-partisan issue that can directly impact the nation's unemployment, considering that every $1 billion federally invested in highway capital supports 35,000 American jobs.   Plus, the American Society of Engineers tells us that $203 billion is needed each year just to meet our nation's infrastructure needs."

Gibson said he'd also like to hear the President say he'll take action on energy policy recommendations that were just recently released in a report by his own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.   The Council noted that the U.S. needs to "take advantage of all its natural resources to spur economic growth, create jobs and reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil."  To do that, the Council recommends "allowing more access to oil, natural gas and coal opportunities on federal lands, and that federal, state and local authorities should encourage safe and responsible extraction of natural gas where sources have been uncovered."

"We urge the President to take action on these recommendations, which will generate jobs while also securing our nation's future energy supply," Gibson said.  Studies show the Marcellus Shale development could create 76,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, 20,000 jobs in New York and 17,000 jobs in West Virginia by 2015.  Development of Ohio's Utica Shale could support more than 204,000 jobs in just four years.

Gibson said, regarding these issues, AISI hopes to see the Administration take leadership on the following in 2012:

Trade:

  • Stand tough on trade laws.
  • Get a currency reform bill passed;
  • Urge Congress to pass the ENFORCE Act, which will address the growing problem of circumvention and evasion of U.S. antidumping/countervailing duty orders

Transportation Reauthorization: 

  • Create good jobs while investing in America's crumbling infrastructure.  The U.S. Congress needs to authorize a multi-year surface transportation bill in 2012.  Reauthorization is also needed for vital improvements to the nation's water infrastructure system.

Energy: 

  • Develop and expand access to America's domestic oil and natural gas sources.  Congress needs to pass legislation to expand access and production of America's oil and natural gas sources in the Outer Continental Shelf, while using the anticipated revenue to rebuild America's transportation infrastructure.

"It is critical not only to the steel industry," Gibson said, "but to all our manufacturing sector that the Obama Administration's number one priority will be to enact policies that keeps America competitive, restore confidence in our nation's struggling economy and spur job growth.  This three-pronged pro-manufacturing strategy is a clear path to achieving this unifying course."

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice.  AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.  AISI is comprised of 25 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 124 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.  AISI's member companies represent approximately 80 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.  For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI's Web site at www.steel.org.

SOURCE American Iron and Steel Institute

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