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March 6 2002

Port of New Orleans slams Bush decision on steel tariffs
The Port of New Orleans was among the first maritime interests to condemn President Bush's decision to impose tariffs and quotas on imported steel. New Orleans serves as the gateway to the heartland of the United States for imported steel used by thousands of steel-consuming businesses. Gary LaGrange, Executive Director of the Board of Commissioners of the Port said, "This protectionist decision will only serve to eliminate American jobs and delay the recovery of our economy."

The Port of New Orleans was part of a nationwide effort to oppose the anti-free trade campaign of the steel companies. "I am extremely concerned about the jobs impact that this decision will have on our Port," said LaGrange.

"Although we acknowledge that the President did not implement the full range of 40 percent tariffs favored by the domestic steel industry," stated Port of New Orleans Commissioner David , "the decision will nonetheless intensify the already steep decline in steel imports that is putting port and maritime personnel out of work. Make no mistake, this is going to hurt this port and the entire region in which we operate. It is also likely to lead to retaliation from steel-producing countries and could precipitate a full-scale trade war with many of our most important trading partners," .

The Port of New Orleans, together with other port, labor union and maritime industry representatives from around the country, recently met in the Nation's Capital with Ambassador Robert Zoellick, United States Trade Representative, and other White House and Administration officials to express their opposition to tariffs and quotas on imported steel.LaGrange also expressed his appreciation to the entire Louisiana Congressional delegation for their efforts on behalf of the Port on this matter.