Ann Wilson, vice president of government affairs, if the US Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) has called on the International Trade Commission (ITC) to "do the right thing and kill the steel tariffs before they do further damage to our industry".

On 14 December, the ITC will rule on whether to retain duties on the imported corrosion-resistant steel used extensively in the production of cars and trucks and their components.

"Since these tariffs have the effect of placing upward pressure on the cost of all steel purchased in this country, keeping them in place will certainly accelerate the loss of American jobs in the auto parts industry," Wilson said in a statement.

"The tariffs were put in place 13 years ago to shore up an ailing steel industry. That was then. Today's headlines frequently describe a "revitalised and healthy" steel industry that has reshaped itself back to profitability. We would agree. Now it's time to end duties that are no longer needed but which continue to wreak havoc on all the many thousands of companies - many of them small - which depend on a steady supply of steel for the products they make."

Wilson noted that MEMA customers - the six largest auto manufacturers in the US - have joined together publicly for the first time to urge the ITC to revoke the duties. While the auto industry uses about half the corrosion-resistant steel consumed in the US, auto parts makers and a variety of other manufacturers use the rest. Collectively, companies that use steel in manufacturing employ over six million workers, 60 times the employment of the steel industry.

"We have voiced our concerns to the ITC because we cannot stand by and watch the actions of our own government continue to damage the automotive industry.

"The steel industry is healthy - and it was never the job of the ITC to protect industries when they do not need protection," Wilson added.

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