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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 5, 1999


Many steelworkers and communities are experiencing continuing hardship as a result of last year's sharp rise in steel imports. I am determined to continue taking forceful action to address the unfair trade practices that have contributed significantly to this crisis. But from the start, we have maintained that we must do it the right way. We must ensure that our actions are consistent with our commitment to open markets and respect for international trade rules, just as we insist that other countries do the same. My Administration has executed a strategy of vigorous, timely enforcement of our trade laws and direct, high level engagement with major steel exporting nations. These actions have cut imports to pre-crisis levels.

Now we must ensure that imports remain at pre-crisis levels and give the industry a chance to regain its competitiveness -- even as we put in place measures to prevent any recurrence. Today, I am releasing a Steel Action Plan containing a number of measures to identify and address factors that pose continuing risks for the health and vitality of U.S. steel communities and companies and the U.S. economy. These include a systematic analysis of foreign subsidies and market-distorting trade barriers for steel and steel inputs, an international conference on unfair practices that support economically unjustifiable production capacity, bilateral discussions with key steel exporters to ensure that they play by the rules of fair trade and eliminate market-distorting subsidies, working with the international financial institutions to eliminate subsidies for steel production, enhancing our ability to detect incipient import surges before they happen, and strengthened enforcement of our trade laws.

I will continue to work with steelworkers, the steel industry, and members of Congress to attack unfair trade practices around the world.