Six Largest Automotive Companies Call on U.S. International

 Trade Commission to End Steel Duties Hurting U.S. Manufacturing  International Trade Commission to Hold Hearing on Ending Duties on 'Corrosion  Resistant Steel'  WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented move underscoring their serious concern over access to competitively-priced steel, the six largest automobile companies with manufacturing facilities in the United States today jointly called on the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to terminate anti-dumping and countervailing duties on "corrosion resistant steel," a steel product used extensively in the manufacturing of automobiles. The companies, which include DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota, also announced that they will take an active role in the ITC's "sunset review" process that determines whether the duties will remain in place.  "This marks the first time that these six companies have united on a trade issue," said Mustafa Mohatarem, Chief Economist, General Motors Corp. "We have joined together because further protection for the steel industry is simply unjustified. Continuing these outdated duties hurts American manufacturing competitiveness and U.S. jobs."  "A great deal has changed in the steel industry since the duties were put in place 13 years ago," added Josephine Cooper, Toyota group vice president. "There is no longer an economic basis for keeping these duties.  The steel industry benefits from unnecessary protection while the duties hurt a much wider sector of the U.S. economy."  The U.S. auto and auto parts industry alone is responsible for employment of 2.4 million Americans.  The six automotive companies together purchase $200 billion annually in materials, parts and services for their U.S. operations. Steel is a critical component of every vehicle and a significant portion of production costs.  All six companies buy the overwhelming amount of the steel used in their U.S. operations from U.S. steel mills, but must maintain the ability to obtain key materials for their vehicle assembly plants dependably and at globally competitive prices.  The ITC is required to conduct a "sunset review" on antidumping and countervailing duties every five years.  The duties will be lifted unless the ITC finds that the steel industry is likely to face material injury as a result.  The duties on corrosion resistant steel have been in place since 1993 on imports from six countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Korea.  "With record profits, high prices and industry consolidation, the domestic steel industry is enjoying unprecedented prosperity that its own executives have publicly stated is sustainable for the long term," concluded Mark S. McConnell, counsel to the six auto manufacturers and a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP.  "Strong global demand for steel will render an influx of imports very unlikely in the event that the ITC revokes the orders. That is why these orders should be terminated as the law intended."   SOURCE  The PBN Company on behalf of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc., Nissan North America, Inc., and Toyota Motor North America, Inc.  CONTACT: Paul Nathanson, paul.nathanson@pbnco.com or Janel Causey,  janel.causey@pbnco.com, both of The PBN Company, +1-202-466-6210 -0- Oct/05/2006 15:01 GMT    
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