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Manchin, Capito Lead Bipartisan Effort Urging President to Fill Vacancies on the International Trade Commission, Protect American Businesses

April 19, 2024

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ted Budd (R-NC), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Todd Young (R-IN) sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden urging him to nominate qualified individuals to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to fill the two vacancies and the three seats that have expired and prepare to fill the one that will expire this year. The ITC plays a crucial role in setting and implementing U.S. trade policy, including by determining whether imports harm domestic industries.

“As an independent, nonpartisan agency, the ITC was designed to be governed by an equal number of Democratic and Republican commissioners. The current vacancies and expired terms jeopardize the ability of the ITC to do its job. As the U.S. faces unfair competition in crucial economic industries, it is vital that we have a fully-staffed ITC that puts workers first and truly protects American businesses,” the Senators wrote in part. “Personnel is policy, and we look forward to working with you to nominate and confirm qualified individuals to the ITC as quickly as possible.”

This letter comes after the ITC’s determination this past February that imports of tin mill products from China, Canada and Germany do not sufficiently harm the domestic steel industry. The decision directly caused the Cleveland-Cliffs tin mill steel facility in Weirton, West Virginia to announce its closure the following week, resulting in nearly 1,000 employee layoffs, and poses serious risks to domestic manufacturers nationwide. A timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to protect Cleveland-Cliffs and the domestic steel industry against illegally dumped and subsidized imports is available here.

The full text of the letter is available below and here.

Dear President Biden:

We urge you to expeditiously nominate qualified individuals to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to fill the two vacancies and the three seats that have expired and prepare to fill the one that will expire this year. The ITC plays a crucial role in setting and implementing U.S. trade policy, including by investigating and determining whether imports injure a domestic industry or violate U.S. property rights. As an independent, nonpartisan agency, the ITC was designed to be governed by an equal number of Democratic and Republican commissioners. The current vacancies and expired terms jeopardize the ability of the ITC to do its job. As the U.S. faces unfair competition in crucial economic industries, it is vital that we have a fully-staffed ITC that puts workers first and truly protects American businesses.

Eyeing the interconnected system of global commerce that would define the twentieth century, President Woodrow Wilson worked with Congress in 1916 to create the ITC to enact tariff policies that were in the best interests of American workers. In describing the need for an ITC, President Wilson said: “the sweep of [economic] change has been so universal that an unprejudiced, nonpartisan board is absolutely necessary,” particularly if “America is going to be thrust out into the economic leadership of the world.”

If we are to maintain this economic leadership, we must use all of our trade enforcement tools to allow American workers and businesses to compete fairly. This begins with nominating and confirming quality candidates for the vacancies on the ITC. A fully-staffed ITC stands a better chance of fulfilling its mission to provide relief to American industries from illegal foreign trade practices. Personnel is policy, and we look forward to working with you to nominate and confirm qualified individuals to the ITC as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your consideration of this important issue. We look forward to your response.



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