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Senators Brown and Vance must continue to defend Ohio manufacturing with ITC reform


A dangerous federal agency called the U.S. International Trade Commission is undermining Ohio’s manufacturing industry, and we need U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance to do something about it. 

Ohio currently shines as a manufacturing powerhouse. Ohio’s factories produce metal, plastic, and chemical products for the entire country, exporting$57 billion worth of goods and adding $130 billion to the U.S. economy annually. 

Our Senators are essential to cementing Ohio’s position as a manufacturing state. Brown helped write and pass the CHIPS and Science Act to support Ohio’s semiconductor manufacturing industry. Vance introduced legislation to revitalize defense manufacturing. They are doing important work to protect American manufacturing and Ohio workers. Now, Ohio is suffering from the decisions of an obscure federal agency called the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). 

Ohio’s economy – especially its manufacturing sector – relies heavily on trade enforcement since many foreign companies steal intellectual property and flood illegally subsidized goods into the U.S., a practice otherwise known as dumping. The ITC exists to prevent foreign countries and companies from cheating the system and hurting American industries. Unfortunately, the ITC recently failed to hold steel producers in China, Canada, and Germany accountable to antidumping rules. 

The ITC ruled that foreign producers’ practices did not “sufficiently harm” domestic industry. The ITC made its ruling despite clear warnings that it would cause the Cleveland-Cliffs tin mill facility in Weirton, West Virginia, to close. As a result of the ITC’s decision, the company closed the facility and laid off roughly 900 workers, many of whom live in Ohio. The ITC sided with foreign actors instead of Ohio steelworkers, a blatant violation of its original mission. 

Senators Brown and Vance are keenly aware of the threat the ITC creates for Ohio’s manufacturing industry, particularly in the Cleveland-Cliffs case. Before the decision, Brown urged the ITC to enforce the law and protect Ohio steelworkers. Brown also visited the Cleveland-Cliffs facility to witness its significant impact on the local community. Unfortunately, our senators’ advocacy on behalf of Ohio steelworkers and fair trade did not prevail. 

Without reform, there will be more cases like Cleveland-Cliffs. Domestic manufacturing could decline not because of fair competition, but because the ITC failed to prevent foreign companies from weaponizing US trade enforcement tools against the domestic companies and jobs it was established to protect.

Our senators are working to protect Ohio manufacturing from further harm, but to fully secure Ohio’s steelworkers from foreign harm, Senator Brown and Senator Vance must reform the ITC. 

A bill called the Advancing America’s Interests Act (AAIA) is currently making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would modernize the ITC to shield honest American companies from unfair and illegal competition. America’s manufacturing sector needs strong senators to introduce this legislation in the Senate. Senators Brown and Vance could introduce the AAIA in the Senate and cement their legacies as a pro-manufacturing force in American politics. I urge Senators Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance to introduce the AAIA in the Senate to help reform the ITC and protect Ohio’s workers once and for all. 

Steve Sydow

IBEW, Local 25

Ironton, Ohio