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Press Release: U.S. Steel-Consuming Manufacturers Warn Against Duties on Tool Steel Imports; High Duties Could Have “Devastating Impact” Resulting in U.S. Job Loss

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Washington, DC – High duties on tool steel imports would have dire consequences for U.S. tool and die manufacturers and could result in the loss of thousands of jobs, warned a representative of U.S. steel-consuming manufacturers yesterday at a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing.  The ITC is considering imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, and Turkey.

Mark Vaughn, Vice Chair of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and President of Vaughn Manufacturing Company in Nashville, TN, testified before the ITC on behalf of the NTMA and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  Vaughn warned that, because most grades of tool steel are not available from domestic sources, U.S. tool and die manufacturers must rely on imported tool steel.  Imposing high duties on these imports would have a “devastating impact on the hundreds of thousands of well-paying U.S. jobs that rely on imported tool steel.”

Vaughn stressed that tool steel, used for cutting, pressing, and extruding of metals and forming tools such as dies, molds, and blades, has been recognized as a separate product from other steel products for more than three decades, a critical distinction that has allowed the American tool and die industry to remain globally competitive.

“Tool steel is used completely differently from the applications for carbon and other alloy steel plate, which is used in load-bearing and structural applications,” said Vaughn.

In a prepared pre-hearing brief, the NTMA and PMA argued on behalf of their industries that the three domestic steel companies that are petitioning for these investigations “produce miniscule volumes and only very limited grades of tool steel,” and that the major US producers of tool steel “do not produce sufficient quantities or the full range of tool steel grades and types required by US purchasers.”

Vaughn stated in his testimony that, because U.S. steel producers do not produce tool steel and the specialty nature of the product, the vast majority of tool steel imports do not compete with US-produced tool steel. He asked that the ITC continue to observe that distinction, stating “imposing high import duties on tool steel would force many of our companies and customers to reconsider whether to continue manufacturing tooling in the U.S.”

Vaughn represented the interests of more than 2,300 One Voice member companies who manufacture tooling and dies and other metal products.  The tool and die industry directly employs some 215,000 Americans and supplies critical components to American aerospace, automotive, refinery, and other sectors.

Vaughn’s testimony echoed a recent One Voice letter sent to the ITC signed by PMA President Bill Gaskin and NTMA President Dave Tilstone requesting that the ITC retain the distinction for tool steel in order to preserve the industry’s critically needed access to globally competitive supplies of steel.

Read the full version of Mark Vaughn’s testimony here.

Read the full letter from One Voice to the ITC here.


About One Voice: The National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and the Precision Metalforming Association’s (PMA) combined “One Voice” federal government advocacy program represents nearly 3,000 metalworking companies and is designed to promote U.S. government policies that will ensure a strong manufacturing sector in the United States.  For additional information, please visit