AISI Supports Steps to Ensure America’s Competitiveness, Create New Jobs, as President Prepares to Deliver His State of the Union Address

Washington, D.C., 1/25/2011 - Reacting to previews of key messages expected in President Obama’s State of the Union address, Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), said, “We strongly support the President’s declaration that ‘his No. 1 focus is going to be making sure that we are competitive, and that we are creating jobs, not just now, but well into the future.’“ Gibson said that AISI has consistently supported the need for a turnaround strategy to make American manufacturing once again a global leader.

 “A three-pronged national manufacturing strategy that focuses on better trade enforcement, a plan to develop domestic energy sources and infrastructure investment is a clear path forward toward achieving this unifying course,” he said. 

He also flagged the President’s comments in advance of his State of the Union address regarding his desire to “boost overseas trade and encourage domestic innovation” to tackle unemployment and revive the economy.  “We continue to support the President’s drive to double the nation’s exports by 2015 and stimulate job growth by creating and preserving manufacturing jobs for Americans,” Gibson said, “and we laud his decision to create a new council on jobs and competitiveness that will include strategies to invest in innovative solutions to spur revival in American manufacturing and the nation’s economy.”

Gibson pointed to three focal points of policy necessary to put in place a pro-manufacturing strategy that will improve the competitiveness of the nation’s manufacturers. 

Energy and Environment:
• Adopt an energy/climate policy that is built around promoting greater development of domestic energy sources, incentives for efficiency improvements and additional support for industry efforts to develop breakthrough technologies. 
• Support breakthrough research for longer-term benefits.  The steel industry has increased its   energy efficiency by 35 percent since 1990, but to further lower energy intensity and substantially reduce emissions, new processes must be developed that do not rely on carbon fuels. Achieving such breakthroughs will require a strong government-industry partnership.  
• Delay or prevent proposed unilateral regulations that would harm U.S. industrial competitiveness without addressing the international aspects of the environmental issues that they seek to address such as EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act.  These regulations will negatively impact American manufacturing jobs while at the same time allowing emissions to increase from sources in nations without similar regulations.  

• Establish and enforce trade policies that will truly level the international playing field for all manufacturers in the United States, by keeping our trade laws strong, strictly enforcing them and expanding rules-based, reciprocal trade.
• Get tough with China’s protectionist and trade-distorting policies (e.g., currency manipulation, government subsidies and restrictions on exports of vital raw materials), which provide artificial advantages to Chinese manufacturers at the expense of U.S. manufacturers.

Infrastructure Investments:
• Invest in upgrading America’s infrastructure through a long-term strategy that makes the nation more efficient and reduces our carbon footprint, while energizing commerce and creating jobs. 
• Authorize a new multi-year surface transportation act that will provide an adequate level of funding for significant infrastructure projects with an emphasis on highways and specifically bridges.  

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice.  AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.  AISI is comprised of 24 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 140 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.  AISI's member companies represent approximately 80 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.  For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s Web site at

Nancy Gravatt
Vice President, Communications
American Iron and Steel Institute
Tel: 202.452.7115