Southwest Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler on Wednesday urged President Donald Trump to consider potential negative impacts on the Steelscape plant in Kalama as he moves to impose tariffs on imported metals.
In a formal letter, the fourth-term Republican noted that the 250-worker plant imports a majority of its steel from its Australia- and Japan-based owners. The plant coats and paints coils of steel for residential and commercial buildings, and it supplies thousands of downstream businesses that rely on its products.
“Despite its affiliation with a domestic steel manufacturing company in Ohio, Steelscape is one of several West Coast steel producers that rely on imports from the Pacific Rim because of the natural trade barriers of the Rocky Mountains,” Herrera Beutler wrote.
The transportation costs of steel shipped by rail from the Midwest would cost Steelscape $65 more per ton than steel arriving by ship from Australia and Japan, Herrera Beutler.
The best case scenario for Steelscape “would be for our owners to receive an exemption” from the tariffs, Brian Jones, Steelscape’s vice president of marketing strategy and innovation, said in an interview last week.
In her letter, Herrera Beutler asked Trump to refrain from enacting tariffs on steel-exporting allies such as Australia and focus on 12 countries that a U.S. Department of Commerce report has found to unfairly distort steel prices.
“I am confident that it is possible to punish the bad actors responsible for flooding U.S. markets with dumped steel without taking action that results in harm to families, schools, and communities,” Herrera Beutler wrote. “Accordingly, I ask you to consider the unique situation of companies like Steelscape that depend on imported steel to survive as American steel producers, and urge you to focus on the bad actors specifically outlined” in the Commerce report.