An open letter from the Steel Manufacturers
Association's board of directors to members of the 112th U.S.
Congress and steel policymakers
America's steel industry is facing the most serious economic
challenge it has encountered since the Great Depression. In the
last decade, the United States has lost 20 percent of its
manufacturing jobs. Other nations have strategies that support
exporting goods, while U.S. policies are resulting in importing
debt and exporting jobs. However well intentioned, incremental
legislative measures are insufficient. The damage has gone far
beyond the use of inadequate traditional fixes.
Unless the main core issues are addressed, there will be
little improvement within the manufacturing sector. As for
steel, our nation needs an adequate domestic supply to maintain
our national economic security, to contribute to our national
defense, to provide a sufficient domestic source of steel for
infrastructure rebuilding and rehabilitation and to help ensure
the recovery of U.S. manufacturing.
Policymakers need to address structural policy deficiencies
in order to ensure the United States is a competitive place for
manufacturing investment by
•?Substantially reducing our trade and current account
•?Engaging in a concerted drive for greater energy
•?Avoiding unnecessary regulatory burdens that place
domestic manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage.
•?Creating new oversight of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions
policy and other over-reaching regulations are established
through approved legislative initiatives rather than
questionable regulatory actions.
•?Initiating a significant U.S. infrastructure
rebuilding program to replace our crumbling infrastructure.
•?Revising the U.S. business tax code and adopting a
lower, internationally competitive corporate tax level, which
in part should consist of a value-added tax to be imposed on
imports and rebated on exports.
We cannot alter global economic integration. It is a fact of
life. However, we must be able to demonstrate that America is
still a great place for manufacturing investment. As the world
becomes "flat," the United States must ensure that its domestic
companies aren't placed at a disadvantage in the global
marketplace. To accomplish this, the United States must adopt a
business tax policy that can compete with foreign tax policies
and entice U.S. businesses to remain and expand in the United
Further, to be competitive as a nation we must reduce the
existing trade, current account and budget deficits, all of
which are hollowing out U.S. manufacturing industries.
Current fiscal and regulatory policies have created an
investment climate that not only impels but actively incents
U.S. companies to invest much of their manufacturing capital
offshore. American companies need more effective and more
certain government policies on taxes, environmental
regulations, labor and energy to stimulate domestic
SMA members expect to be a key component of the U.S.
economic rebound. We very much appreciate support from members
of the 112th Congress for the steel industry and manufacturing
workers across the country.
The Steel Manufacturers Association is the primary trade
association for electric furnace steel producers. It is the
largest steel industry trade association in
North America, whose members account for more than 75
percent of total U.S. steel production capacity. Its 35 member
companies operate 125 plants across North America.