NEW YORK — Market participants up and down the supply chain have joined forces to relaunch the American Steel Coalition (ASC), a grassroots organization intended to garner support for pro-manufacturing policies on Capitol Hill.
"With revitalization of the American Steel Coalition, we are drawing a line in the sand," Mike Romano, chairman of the ASC and Nalco Co.’s vice president of strategic accounts, said in a conference call Wednesday. "We can no longer stand by while valuable American manufacturing jobs are lost. We will be mobilizing the grassroots strength of our industry and providing the tools to get things done."
The group’s policy goals span a number of key issues for the general manufacturing sector, including alleged Chinese currency manipulation and domestic infrastructure spending, Romano said.
"Our industry faces significant threats on a number of different policy fronts, from overreaching regulations to a deteriorating infrastructure system to devastating trade policies that continually place our manufacturers at an internationally competitive disadvantage," he said. "Issues such as these will be at the forefront of our advocacy."
The official relaunch came one day before President Obama was scheduled to address Congress to detail his plans to further stimulate the economy and create jobs.
The decision to relaunch the ASC comes a full decade after the group was initially created. Originally formed in 2001 to lobby for Section 201 steel tariffs, the coalition went dormant once the tariffs allowed for the successful restructuring of the U.S. steel sector, Romano said.
Steel import issues—particularly the enforcement of existing protections—will remain on the group’s radar, Romano said, but the reinvigorated ASC will not focus solely on free trade this time around.
"Unlike its role in 2001, we see the coalition giving members a voice year-round, not just responding to crises, but with an ongoing, intensive focus on policy issues that impact our businesses," he said. "We will be engaged in a number of key issues impacting our competitiveness, including our national energy policy, transportation and infrastructure, regulatory matters and international trade."
He said that the American Iron and Steel Institute is helping members of the ASC arrange meetings in Washington.
Joining Romano among the group’s founding members are James R. Boughton, SES LLC; Charles Connors Sr., Magneco/Metrel Inc.; Kevin Fenton, GrafTech International; Steve Harker, Kvaerner North American Construction; George Koenig, Berry Metal Co.; Robert Kuball, Heraeus Electro-Nite Co. LLC; William Rackoff, ASKO Inc.; and Joe Turner, Shaw Plant Services.
Daniel R. DiMicco, chairman and chief executive officer of Nucor Corp. and chairman of the AISI, had told members in May that the ASC was "back in action" without providing any specifics (AMM, May 5).