The Steel Manufacturers Association and official Washington meet, greet and speak steel at annual spring event

Jul 01, 2010 | 06:37 AM | Lisa Gordon

The philosophy underpinning the Steel Manufacturers Association's conference schedule is similar to the ideology of its mini-mill electric furnace industry membership. The association holds only two events a year, taking pride in embracing a lean operating policy,

Although the meetings may be few, they pack a punch. This year's annual spring event in Washington attracted more than 250 participants, including the top names in the steel industry and not just one but dozens of congressmen.

In addition to a congressional reception hosted at the Capitol for delegates, elected officials were on hand the next day at a breakfast held at the Rayburn House Office Building.

During the course of the event, it was made clear that previous discussions regarding the formation of a new trade group with the American Iron and Steel Institute have gone silent and that the SMA fully intends to stand on it own. The two organizations remain amicable, but a link-up is no longer an active option.

With news breaking during the opening reception of the meeting that John Correnti had secured financing from China for his Steel Development Co. LLC greenfield project in Mississippi, there was plenty of buzz—little of it positive.

On the sidelines, many executives said it was absolutely wrong that a Chinese state-owned entity could set up shop in the United States while Beijing was not willing to reciprocate and allow U.S. companies to own factories there. Ironically, even those who service or supply the domestic industry—and may gain a potential new customer—were opposed to the idea.....

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