Level Playing Field Remains Important
Sometime next week, our Ohio Valley steel industry will take a small step toward a comeback. Let us hope no one trips us up.
JSW Steel, based in India, purchased the electric arc furnace at Mingo Junction earlier this year. As U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., revealed, the company plans to refire the furnace next week.
The news is simply wonderful, in part because of the 280 jobs at the facility and also because JSW may increase production there substantially in the future.
It also is good to hear because it signals a potential industrial resurgence in the Ohio Valley. “We’re … seeing the chemistry of a comeback,” McKinley said last week.
Competition in the steel industry can be stiff, of course, and not just among domestic manufacturers. As area residents are aware, unfair trade practices by foreign producers and their governments were part of the reason our steel industry was devastated.
JSW officials believe action by President Donald Trump’s administration has helped curb at least some of those unfair trade practices. Renegotiating the infamous North American Free Trade Agreement probably helped.
More remains to be done, however. Lawmakers such as McKinley and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, are well aware of that.
If the industrial resurgence here is to continue, both the White House and Congress must continue to take the necessary steps to ensure our working men and women have the level playing field they need.