The United Steelworkers (USW) hailed the ruling on Dec. 21 by the Department of Commerce's Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Board. "This is a very big win for us," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "The ruling upholds the validity of the trade remedy laws because it does not let the FTZ system be used to undermine valid anti-dumping or countervailing duty orders. If we had lost, it would have created a very big loophole -- a loophole that would have given a boost to unfairly traded imports while undermining the effectiveness of the trade laws and trade orders.
"It also would have cost good manufacturing jobs for our members producing silicon metal at Globe Specialty Metal facilities in Niagara Falls, N.Y. and in W. Alloy, W. Va."
Originally two companies, Dow Corning and REC Silicon, filed applications with the FTZ Board to get special zone status to avoid the payment of antidumping duties on imported silicon metal from China and Russia. The companies claimed that not having to pay antidumping duties on these imports would not harm the domestic supplier of silicon metal, Globe Specialty Metal, but the USW along with Globe fought back showing that Globe and USW members would be harmed if they had to compete against dumped silicon metal and that U.S. trade laws would be made ineffective if companies simply could obtain special FTZ status to end-run legitimate trade orders.
The domestic silicon metal industry has been hard hit in the past from dumping from China and Russia and had fought to get those anti-dumping orders in place. At the time of the filing of the FTZ applications, the N.Y. plant had been shut down after bankruptcy and was just coming back on line. Some 100 USW members went back to work and 300 more manufacturing jobs are expected in the future at the facility.
The FTZ Board preliminarily ruled against both companies, and thereafter REC Silicon dropped its request and agreed to pay the antidumping duties on silicon metal imported from China and Russia.