WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is pressing the Obama Administration and the Department of Commerce to reconsider a recent ruling on foreign steel products coming from South Korea.
Brown met with workers at the JMC Wheatland Tube plant in Warren Friday. Owners claim cheaply priced pipe coming into the U.S. is undercutting their business and threatening the jobs of local employees.
Having already invested $21 million in the facility the last couple of years, executives with JMC Steel will spend almost $2 million more at the Warren plant this summer adding new equipment to try and capture more business in the oil and gas drilling industry.
But workers and Nick Shubat, general manager of JMC Steel’s EnergeX Division, claim they’re being undercut by pipe coming from overseas.
“We’ve got the best equipment. We’ve got a very trained and good work force that keeps us competitive and low cost, and they are dumping the product. It is plain and simple,” said Shubat.
Administrators with the Commerce Department issued a preliminary ruling recently indicating South Korea was not dumping its product in the U.S., but Shubat claims officials don’t’ have all the facts.
Shubat said government officials didn’t take into consideration the cost of producing the steel products here in the U.S.
Brown said he has been pressing the administration to reconsider while urging lawmakers to pass regulations to prevent foreign countries from manipulating the value of their own currencies and then cutting the prices of their products.
“If you pass the currency bill, it stops them from gaming the system with currency,” said Brown. “That will affect every good China or Korea sells into the United States.”
Currently, JMC has 40 people on layoff and workers are blaming that on foreign dumping. Executives worry that unless the Commerce Department takes action against Korea, investments made at JMC will not be enough to bring those jobs back to the facility.