U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is urging the Obama administration to protect Paulding County’s cement industry and the thousands of local jobs it supports, reports The Van Wert Independent.

In a letter to United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, Brown called for the administration to crack down on Canada’s attempt to “illegally subsidize” the McInnis Cement facility in a cement plant in Port-Daniel-Gascons, Quebec, which would specifically target the U.S. market.

“Paulding County workers can compete with anyone when given a level playing field,” said Brown. “But if countries like Canada illegally subsidize their industries, and target the U.S. market, it gives their products an unfair advantage. I urge the administration to investigate the nearly $500 million subsidy package proposed for the Quebec plant, which will directly compete with Lafarge North America’s facility in Paulding. Actions must be taken in order to protect Paulding jobs and the economy of northwest Ohio.”

John Stull, president and CEO of Lafarge North America, stated, “Lafarge North America appreciates the inquiry to the United States Trade Representative to address a serious threat to US cement producers and their workers. Given the excess cement capacity in the Province of Quebec, the McInnis Cement plant makes no economic sense.

“Lafarge believes that the plant would not be built without enormous support from the federal and provincial government. Lafarge joins Senator Brown in urging the U.S. government to engage with the Canadian government regarding the provision of subsidies that appear to be prohibited by World Trade Organization rules and threaten material harm to the U.S. cement industry.”

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