Hefty tariffs have been imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department on Chinese and Japanese illegally subsidized steel dumped into the American market.

The tariffs on Chinese steel are set at 266 percent and 71 percent for Japanese products. 

Steel dumping the past 18 months has been a leading cause of economic devastation in the U.S. iron ore and steel industries, leading to major layoffs of workers and the closing of mines and mills across the country.

The Iron Range alone has felt the impact of seven of the 11 iron ore mining and production facilities idled at some time and about 2,000 working at the mines laid off. Thousands more employees of mining-related businesses have also received unemployment checks.

The Barack Obama administation announced in February new actions to combat steel dumping.

Executive actions from the White House added Customs and Border Patrol personnel to enforce trade laws, stepped-up inspections of steel imports at ports of entry, and increased personnel at the Commerce Department to help ensure tariffs are enforced against those who dump steel in the U.S.

The president also signed legislation (HR 644) that provides additional tools to more aggressively enforce anti-dumping provisions under existing federal law.

Minnesota’s Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken along with 8th District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan advocated strongly for action to be taken against countries that have been profiting at U.S. workers’ expense from illegal steel dumping.

“Mining and steel production are what we do here on the Iron Range — it’s our way of life,” Nolan said. “Trade-cheater nations dumping low-grade, sub-par steel into our market has threatened that way of life and caused job losses across our region. I’m pleased to see the administration heeding our call to take stronger action against steel dumping. After all, America’s iron ore mining and steel industries are the foundation of our economic security and our national security.”

“Steel dumping has harmed our domestic industry and left many workers on the Iron Range without a job to support their families,” Klobuchar said. “To advocate for our workers, I have long called for the administration to take tougher action to address the dumping of Chinese steel on our shores.

“These final tariffs will help curb steel dumping and level the playing field for Minnesota’s iron ore miners and steelworkers,” she said. “The next step is for Congress to pass our bills to strengthen America’s trade enforcement capabilities and ensure laid-off workers affected by steel dumping receive the support they deserve.”

“I’ve fought to make it happen for a long time now, because the Northland can’t afford to lose more jobs,” said Sen. Franken. “I’m going to continue pushing to better enforce our trade laws and help support our iron ore miners and steelworkers.”