Rep. Shelley Moore Capito last week urged the International Trade Commission to renew anti-dumping regulations that she said were critical to protecting jobs at an idled Mason County plant.
Capito testified at a commission hearing last Thursday on behalf of Felman Production, which last month began a three-month shutdown of its New Haven ferroalloys plant.
Felman, which employs roughly 200 workers, was forced to idle its three furnaces after poor market conditions drove down the price of its key product. Felman is a leading producer of the additive silicomanganese, a deoxidizer that allows steel companies to produce a purer type of steel.
An global oversupply of silicomanganese has driven down prices to the point where Felman can no longer make enough money to cover costs.
Capito appeared before the commission to urge it to renew its anti-dumping duties on imports of silicomanganese India, Kazakhstan, and Venezuela. The duties are designed to protect domestic producers from potential unfair trading practices by international competitors.
Capito said if the current anti-dumping duties are not renewed, it could lead to permanent job loss and a major increase in unemployment in Mason County.
"It is imperative that American businesses are allowed to compete on a fair playing field against international competitors," she said. "Felman has already been hit hard by market conditions, and Mason County would be dealt an unrecoverable blow if the current anti-dumping duties are not extended."
Felman plans to re-evaluate market conditions in September to determine if it will restart operations at the Mason County plant.