Automation isn't the biggest threat to the steel industry, unfair trade is, congresswoman says

American jobs hurt by automation?

The steel industry has been "battered" thanks to Chinese and Korean imports, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, told CNBC on Wednesday.

While a lot of focus has recently been on the rise of automation and its role in killing jobs in the U.S., she believes that isn't the real danger for the industry right now.

"We have a lot of automation. We have a lot of artificial intelligence and it's very important to what we do." Kaptur said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

However, while the industry has modernized its production and workers have skilled up, the market is vastly oversupplied thanks to unfair trade practices, she said.

"When you see Chinese and Korean steel dumped into your market and the government doesn't respond and use the powers that it has, and you are told you're pink slipped by next June, that is not a good picture. It's unfair," Kaptur argued.

She said that's why President Donald Trump won the state of Ohio, and now she wants him to follow up on his promises of ending unfair trade practices.

"He can … self-initiate a dumping case. He can actually put a quota on the amount of this steel that can come into the country right now and give our industries a chance to recover. We don't have to accept this as our fate," said Kaptur.

On Tuesday, BlackRock put the spotlight back on automation and its role in displacing workers when it announced it was overhauling its actively managed equities business, cutting jobs and having machines do more stock picking.

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