Commonsense Conservative For Ohio


Portman for Senate Releases New TV Ad: “Steel”

$1 Million Statewide TV Ad Highlights Rob's Record of Standing Up to China and Fighting for Ohio Workers

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Today, the Portman for Senate campaign released "Steel," the campaign's newest TV ad, which begins airing statewide tomorrow. "Steel" highlights Rob's record of standing up to China and fighting for Ohio workers against China's unfair trade practices. The campaign will spend over $1 million broadcasting this ad across Ohio for the next two weeks.

The ad features Burke Byer of Byer Steel, a family-owned steel manufacturer that employs 90 workers in Cincinnati. 

"Rob Portman is absolutely fighting for the American worker," Burke Byer said. "If you give us a fair chance, nobody can beat us. China is doing things to create an unfair playing field. The threat to American manufacturing is real and Rob Portman gets that. The reason we have 90 employees is because Rob gave us another fighting chance."

One of the biggest issues in this race is which candidate can Ohio workers trust to protect their jobs and fight against China. "Steel" shows the work Rob has done to fight for Ohio workers and protect Ohio jobs from China.

"Our new ad highlights Rob's long record of fighting for Ohio manufacturers and workers like those at Cincinnati's Byer Steel. Rob is the only candidate in this race with a record of standing up to China. Rob is leading the fight to stop China's currency manipulation and level the playing field on trade so Ohio workers can compete and win," Portman spokesperson Michawn Rich said. "While Rob will always defend Ohio workers, Ted Strickland's record doesn't match his rhetoric. In Congress, he refused to vote to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices. As governor, despite his strong rhetoric, Strickland's administration opened a trade office in China and he even gave a $4 million taxpayer-funded loan to a now-bankrupt company with a Chinese factory."

You may click the video below to watch “Steel."



Rob Portman fought back for Byer Steel when China cheated:

April 24, 2013 – Rob Portman leads a letter to the International Trade Council (ITC) Chairman Irving Williamson urging the ITC to keep the anti-dumping tariffs on imported Chinese steel concrete reinforcing bar (rebar) steel in place. The ITC was considering a case that was brought to the ITC in part by Byer Steel. The ITC held a hearing on April 25, 2013, to decide if the Chinese were illegally undercutting the U.S. market for rebar by dumping rebar at artificially deflated prices.

June 13, 2013 – Following the letter that Portman lead to the ITC, the Commission rules that the tariffs on Chinese rebar will stay in place for an additional five years. China will face a 133 percent margin on their imported rebar steel because of Portman’s efforts and ITC’s ruling.

Portman Later Fought for Byer Steel Against Mexican and Turkish Steel Subsidies:

April 9, 2014 – Portman sends another letter to the Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker with his colleagues asking that she strictly and fully enforce our trade laws regarding Mexican and Turkish companies illegally dumping rebar. This case was brought to the Department of Commerce and the ITC in part by Byer Steel as well.

"Ohio steelworkers can compete and win on a level playing-field," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio., "but Washington must stand up for American manufactured goods and prevent unfairly traded products from threatening jobs here at home."

October 14, 2014 – After hearing from Portman and his colleagues, the ITC again rules that Mexican and Turkish companies are illegally dumping steel and now must pay tariffs on their imports.

Portman Sponsored Law Leads to Recent Wins Against China:

Rob Portman sponsored a law called the Leveling the Playing Field Act that in recent weeks has led to two trade wins for Ohio steel companies against China’s cheating on trade. The law allows U.S. companies to immediately petition the International Trade Commission (ITC) when they see that China or other countries are cheating on trade. Before Portman’s legislation was enacted into law, U.S. companies had to wait until there were damages such as lost jobs and shuttered factories before going to the ITC for relief.

In particular, Portman’s legislation helped U.S. steelworkers fight back against China’s unfair subsidies of cold-rolled and corrosion-resistant steel. Portman also testified before the ITC in both of these cases on behalf of Ohio steelworkers.

The first case involved cold-rolled steel from both China and Japan. After Portman testified at the ITC, they ruled that China was in fact injuring the U.S. cold-rolled steel market and levied import duties of 522% on Chinese cold-rolled steel imports.

The second case involved corrosion-resistant steel and Portman again testified in front of the ITC on behalf of Ohio steel workers. Again, the ITC ruled in favor of American steel workers by saying that China and other countries subsidies were hurting American steel production.

As former U.S. Trade Representative, Portman was the first to take China to court and won. “He hauled China before the World Trade Organization – a global trade court – after it put up hurdles to keep out U.S.-made auto parts. He threatened China again after it put up duties against kraft linerboard, a pulp product used for shipping cartons, and China backed down.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/23/10)

PolitiFact Ohio: "Portman was always my strongest ally when I wanted to take the Chinese to the WTO. He was a hawk on these issues. If I wanted to file trade enforcement cases on China I could always count on him."

While also Trade Representative, Portman named a special prosecutor in his office to focus solely on China’s cheating. This was the first time in the history of the office that the trade representative had named a special prosecutor to seek out ways to fight back against China’s cheating.

Rob opposes bad trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In a statement Portman said, "From currency manipulation, to rules of origin for automobiles, to protection for US biologics – we can do better.  And we need to do better for the sake of American workers who are depending on the Administration to give them a level playing field. ”

Portman stood up against his party and was even criticized by the Wall Street Journal editorial board when he led the effort to get tougher currency manipulation rules into TPA on the floor. While Portman’s amendment failed, his work led to getting better language in the bill. (Portman, Brown buck party lines on trade bill, 5/16/15) 

Toledo Blade: An amendment sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) aimed at curbing currency manipulation — an anti-competitive practice by other countries that damages the U.S. economy — deserves lawmakers’ and the President’s support (To make trade truly free, lawmakers should support a proposal to crack down on currency manipulation, 4/27/15)

Rob works across party lines to increase American exports to create more Ohio jobs, while protecting American workers from illegal imports:

  • Rob introduced and passed the Leveling the Playing Field Act, which gives U.S. manufacturers tools to fight against unfair trade practices in order to protect hard-working Ohio steel workers.
  • Rob was awarded the “2015 Congressional Steel Champion Award" from the American Iron and Steel Institute for his leadership “in championing improvements to the trade laws which help level the playing field so our industry can remain competitive."
  • Rob’s bipartisan Enforce Act was signed into law. The legislation cracks down on efforts that hurt American workers by illegally importing goods and circumventing our laws.

When companies call Rob for help with trade enforcement and export cases, he delivers results:

  • ITC ruling to help USW tire workers - the case dealt with defending United Steel Workers in the tire industry. Portman wrote a letter and submitted testimony to the ITC on behalf of the USW workers and the ITC ruled that China was cheating on their tire imports.

    He came to our rescue,’ United Steelworkers Local 207-L President Rod Nelson said. ‘He did the right thing. He investigated the allegations that China wasn’t playing by the rules… and he stepped up to the plate and represented the people in the state of Ohio and out of the result of this, we’re getting investment in our plant right now.’

    The 20 or so Cooper workers at the union hall Wednesday afternoon presented Portman with a 12-foot-by-2½-foot swath of paper containing 1,000 signatures of thanks from union and non-union Cooper workers.

  • ITC Ruling to Help Ohio Pipe and Tube Manufacturers – the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled on two important cases to crack down on countries like China that illegally dump their steel in the U.S. market, hurting Ohio steel manufacturers. This ruling came after Portman worked side-by-side with the United Steelworkers and a bipartisan coalition to protect oil country tubular goods being manufactured by hundreds of workers at plants throughout Ohio.

  • Rob has worked across party lines on numerous trade enforcement cases to support Ohio workers and ensure foreign competitors are playing by the rules. Some of these cases include helping Ohio products such as rebar, solar products, roller bearings, agriculture products, high-density pipe, specialty paper, hot-rolled steel, among others.

Ted Strickland's Hypocritical Attacks on China:

Strickland voted twice – in 1993 and 1994 – in support of China's Most Favored Nation status. (HJRes 208, Roll Call Vote 347, July 21, 1993, Overall vote: 105-318, Strickland Vote: No), (HJRes 373, Roll Call Vote 381, August 9, 1994, Overall vote: 75-356, Strickland Vote: No)

  • PolitiFact Ohio: We consulted trade experts on both sides of the partisan aisle. They were unanimous that the ad’s statement is fundamentally wrong.
  • Washington Free Beacon: Democratic Senate Candidate Again Under Fire for Misleading Voters
  • Weekly Standard: Ted Strickland Was For Free Trade with China, Before He Was Against It
  • Morning Consult: But while Strickland opposed the renewal in 2000, he voted in 1993 and 1994 to retain China’s “most favored nation” status.
  • Strickland, also in the U.S. House in 2000, voted "no" on the bill in question, though he previously voted twice in support of "most favored nation' treatment for China 

Ted Strickland’s Record of Cozying up to China:
Strickland voted twice in 2005 against Congressional measures to hold China accountable for their unfair trade practices.
Vote #1: [Thomas] motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill that would establish mechanisms to ensure that China abides by previous trade agreement commitments, including creating a system to monitor compliance with trade obligations on intellectual property rights, market access for U.S. goods, services and agriculture and the accounting of Chinese subsidies. It would authorize an increase in funding for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the International Trade Commission to improve the enforcement of existing trade agreements. (HR 3283, Roll Call Vote 421, July 26, 2005, Overall vote: 240-186, Strickland Vote: No)

Vote #2: Passage of the bill that would establish mechanisms to ensure that China abides by previous trade agreement commitments, including creating a system to monitor compliance with trade obligations on intellectual property rights, market access for U.S. goods, services and agriculture and the accounting of Chinese subsidies. It would authorize an increase in funding for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the International Trade Commission to improve the enforcement of existing trade agreements. (HR 3283, Roll Call Vote 437, July 27, 2005, Overall vote: 255-168, Strickland Vote: No)

As governor in 2008, Strickland opened the state’s third trade office in China. Ohio is going for the gold, opening a global trade office in Beijing, just in time for the summer Olympic games. The prize for the state Department of Development isn’t medals, but, officials hope, profits for local companies expanding exports to China, particularly in Ohio’s struggling manufacturing sector. The Beijing office is expected to open later this month, the third new international office the Strickland administration has opened this year, bringing the state’s total to 14. That ranks Ohio second to Pennsylvania, which has 16 overseas offices, according to Ohio officials… The Beijing office will operate on an annual budget of $50,000, which includes pay for locally contracted staff. Another $15,000 has been budgeted for travel to and from the new China office through June 2009. The Australia and India offices cost $100,000 apiece annually. There are about 55 people employed by the state’s Global Markets Division in the 14 overseas offices and in Columbus; the division’s budget is $2.6 million this year. “This is consistent with our department of development’s efforts to expand trade around the world and to promote Ohio products,” Strickland said… In fact, the Beijing office is Ohio’s third in China; Ohio already has offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong. (The Cincinnati Enquirer, April 7, 2008)

In 2010, the Strickland administration awarded a $4 million taxpayer-funded loan to a Toledo solar firm, Xunlight Corp., despite knowing the firm was building a Chinese assembly plant. Xunlight filed for bankruptcy in 2014. Xunlight Corp., a Toledo manufacturer of thin-film solar panels, quietly opened an assembly plant in China early this year that has doubled the company’s employee base and will prepare the firm for international sales. President and CEO Xunming Deng said yesterday the company invested $2 million to open the facility, which has about 100 employees and is located in [Kunshan.]... The plant performs a lamination process that coats Xunlight’s thin, stainless steel solar cells, which are produced in Toledo. The laminated panels are then shipped back to the United States as well as to international markets… [The company] has received nearly $50 million in federal and state funding and other assistance to develop its research and production in Toledo… Local, state, and national politicians have touted northwest Ohio’s solar industry in the past two years, often mentioning the success of Xunlight’s growing business. At no time was it mentioned that the company had planned or had put into use a factory in China. Xunlight began speaking publicly only this week about the China facility… Ohio and local business development agencies said Xunlight has been open with them about the Chinese plant development since the plans were first being made. The numerous federal and state loans, grants, and tax incentives that the company has received include a $34.5 million federal tax credit approved in January, a $4 million state loan granted this year for the installation of a production line, and nearly $7 million in grants from [Third Frontier.] ... [Mark Shanahan, energy adviser to Strickland,] said state officials were aware of Xunlight’s Chinese plant and are confident that state funding has been used only for local operations. (Toledo Blade, November 18, 2010)

Xunlight Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2014. Toledo solar-panel manufacturer Xunlight Corp. is bankrupt and plans to liquidate its remaining assets… Company filings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court show Xunlight has about $1.9 million in assets but $28.5 million in debts. (Toledo Blade, November 25, 2014)