Baldwin Works to Even the Playing Field for Marshfield Manufacturing Business
Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin delivered testimony this morning at a hearing of the International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of a Wisconsin manufacturer, Felker Brothers of Marshfield. The purpose of Baldwin’s attendance at the hearing was to highlight the importance of the stainless pipe industry and to address an important trade matter that impacts Felker, a leading manufacturer of stainless steel piping products and fabricated piping systems that employs 200 people.
The Marshfield manufacturer is a petitioner in a pending antidumping investigation on imports of welded stainless pressure pipe from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. At the ITC hearing, Baldwin focused on the challenges that Felker and the industry has faced from unfairly traded imports.
A copy of Senator Baldwin’s testimony is included below.
Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Commission on a matter of great importance to Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, we have one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation, supporting a large share of our workforce and exporting goods all over America and the world.
Today, I am proud to represent my state’s Made in Wisconsin economy by speaking in support of one of the nation’s leading producers of stainless steel pipe, Felker Brothers of Marshfield, Wisconsin.
Felker employs 200 workers at its headquarters in Marshfield. It has been in operation as a family-run business for over a century. The success of Wisconsin’s most recognizable industries—dairy, beer, and papermaking—is made possible in no small part because of the high-quality stainless steel piping made by Wisconsin companies like Felker. But Felker’s products don’t just serve Wisconsin- they serve the world. For example, Felker provided all the stainless steel tubing for the Burj Tower in Dubai, currently the tallest building in the world.
I think that shows that when the rules are fair and there is a level playing field, Felker can compete with any company in the world. And that is what brings me before the Commission today. Because when countries are allowed to cheat and sell their products below fair market value- Felker, its workers, and its customers lose out.
Today, the Commission will hear from industry and labor about unfairly traded imports of welded stainless pressure pipe from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. As you know, on December 31, 2013 the Commerce Department announced affirmative preliminary determinations in this investigation. Over a two year period, dumped imports from these countries have taken 25 percent of the U.S. market.
As a result, Felker and others have been forced to make difficult decisions to reduce worker hours or announce layoffs. At a time when our economy is still struggling to create broad based economic growth and shared prosperity, we can’t tolerate trade practices that put our products, workers and businesses at a disadvantage. What this hard-working family business in Wisconsin - and manufacturers across America - need is simply the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. If we ensure that, I am more than confident that Felker and other American manufacturers will win.
In conclusion, I thank you again for welcoming me here today. I know that the Commission will weigh the issues in this investigation carefully. I hope that you will agree that an affirmative final injury determination in this matter is imperative to ensure fair competition for the industry, its workers and communities throughout the country.
Thank you for your time and for your careful consideration of this case.