Although he has not yet received a response to the letter that he sent to the White House about AK Steel, local Congressman Mike Kelly is moving forward with speaking with people who can help close a loophole allowing cheaper foreign steel into the domestic market.
“I’ve talked with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and I’m going to meet with Ambassador Bob Lighthizer this week,” Kelly said. “And then also, [Director of Trade and Manufacturing policy] Peter Navarro, is someone we want to talk to about this, because of his position in the White House. We want to get immediate action on this.”
Kelly is aware that if AK were to close, the country’s electrical grid would be dependent on foreign steel. Kelly said that he will not accept an answer that this loophole will be addressed sometime in the summer or later in the year.
“We thought we were protecting the steel industry, and then we took a deeper look and saw that there was a loophole here that allows them to circumvent the process,” Kelly said. “While at the time we didn’t see it, we see it now. And if we are truly going to have fair trade deals, this is something that has to be remedied now.”
Kelly said he has spoken to Cleveland Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves several times and he believes that this company is buying AK Steel to run the operation at a profit and not to shut it down.