TOWANDA — U.S. Congressman Fred Keller (R-12) was back in Bradford County Friday, this time to meet with officials of the Global Tungsten and Powders Corporation before touring the Towanda headquarters of the international operation.
Stacy Garrity, Vice President of Government Affairs and Industry Liaison at GTP, informed Keller and his team that the company is the largest manufacturer of tungsten, which has a wide variety of uses from the creation of ballistic ammunition used by the United States Department of Defense to oil and gas diamond drilling heads, tools and satellites, in the western world.
A large focus of the day was geared toward the eastern sphere of the globe however as GTP officials shared with Keller the troubles of the industry caused by “unfair Chinese trade practices” and how he can assist in overcoming them.
Garrity stated that largest issues facing the industry currently are rooted in tungsten manufacturers in China flooding the market with “artificially low priced” tungsten products which causes a decline in purchase and use of American-made tungsten products.
Garrity asked Keller to support GTP as it proposes that national legislators impose tariffs against Chinese producers, restrict the Department of Energy from purchasing tungsten powder from select sources overseas as the Department of Defense is and to reduce or eliminate the import duties (fees) currently imposed on raw materials used in manufacturing, including tungsten ore, purchased overseas.
Relating to tariffs, Garrity asked Keller to support the imposition of 25 percent ad valorem duties on multiple tungsten powder harmonized tariff codes.
“Equitable tariffs shield American manufacturers from unfair Chinese trade practices and deter China from further anticompetitive and harmful activities,” Garrity stated, noting that through the use of both raw materials and recycled tungsten products GTP and the two other tungsten smelters in the United States “have sufficient capacity to satisfy all of the tungsten requirements in the U.S. to include our Defense Industry.”
Garrity informed that Congress has already passed a law commonly referred to as “Don’t Buy from the Bad Guys” that prohibits the Department of Defense from purchasing tungsten metal powder and tungsten heavy alloy products manufactured in China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.
“This has been very helpful, not only to GTP, but also to other U.S. manufacturers of defense products,” she said.
The Department of Energy is currently not prohibited from purchasing tungsten products from those four countries however, Garrity stated, labeling it as a practice that not only hurts America’s industrial base but “is also a matter of national security.”
Rounding out the third largest issue currently facing the industry, Garrity stated that there are currently duties placed on “specified raw materials and intermediate products used in manufacturing,” some of them being tungsten products.
These duties specifically harm U.S. tungsten manufacturers as tungsten ore is not mined in America and even “secondary raw material” is not readily available in large enough quantities in the States, forcing producers to pay the import duties for all starting materials, according to Garrity.
Garrity stated that GTP will submit a petition to reduce or suspend duties on three tungsten related Harmonized Tariff Codes.
Garrity told that while manufacturing is currently in a decline from where it was last year worldwide, the government has shifted to being more supportive of American-made products under the Trump Administration.
Recent administrations prior to the election of President Donald Trump had prioritized international trade over American-based products, Garrity stated, saying that the last three years have seen the U.S. Senate, the White House and the Pentagon join with the House of Representatives in prioritizing American manufacturing.
Garrity said that former Congressman Tom Marino had been a large positive influence in the government for GTP and asked Keller to support American tungsten manufacturing as well when legislation is brought to Congress.
“We need his office to support these initiatives,” she said.
Keller showed his support for GTP, stating that he will work to convince his colleagues to support legislation proposed by the company.