. . . I am under no illusion that labor-management cooperation alone can guarantee the success of Wheeling- Pitt or secure the future of the American steel industry. It cannot fully offset the handicaps imposed by three recessions in 10 years, an overvalued dollar and the lack of a realistic trade policy. Government policies can make the difference between competitive success or failure, and the Reagan administration economic trade policies have tilted the scales sharply against our steel industry.
. . . In the past year, the administration has worked to negotiate voluntary export restraints with other steel- producing nations . . . .But the hard truth is that the new policy has produced only negligible improvements. The import level for 1985 will be 25 percent -- a far cry from the 18.5 percent goal proclaimed by the administration when it convinced Congress that steel quotas were unnecessary. The difference between 18.5 percent and 25 percent import penetration could spell the difference between success or failure at Wheeling-Pitt -- not to mention . . . other major steel companies that have moved close to the financial edge.
. . . President Reagan in 1980 promised to get government off the back of the American steel industry. In fact, it's time to get the government on the side of the American steel industry. We should be limiting imports to the goal set by Congress and the president -- which would still leave us a more open market than any of our trading partners. But in exchange for that import relief, we should be requiring commitments from the steel companies and workers on modernization, and wage and price restraint.