NEW YORK A number of
trading partners export restrictions, quotas and foreign
policies are hurting U.S. trade opportunities as well as the
domestic metals industry, according to a new government
"Recognizing that U.S. economic
and employment recovery and growth continue to rely importantly
on the strength of U.S. exports of goods, services and
agricultural products, we will be redoubling our efforts to
ensure that the technical barriers that inhibit those exports
are steadily diminished," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk
said in releasing the report.
The third annual report by the
USTR highlights in particular the importance of reducing
barriers to encourage fair trade with rapidly developing
nations like China, Brazil, India and Russia.
One major area of concern laid
out in the report is policy surrounding Chinas steel
sector, including restrictions on exports of raw materials,
significant challenges to foreign ownership and problems with
"Despite Chinas stated
goal of eliminating inefficient steel capacity, and despite
slowing growth in domestic steel demand and stagnant demand in
export markets, steel production in China in 2011 continued to
grow, reaching a record 695.5 million tonnes in 2011, an
8.9-percent increase over 2010," the USTR report said.
Chinas tiered export tax
brackets to encourage the export of certain value-added steel
products over raw materials also is a concern, the USTR
Export restraints on iron ore
from India also raise concerns for the United States,
especially following Indias policy change earlier this
year to double the export duty to 30 percent, the USTR said.
"India also requires that exports of high-grade iron ore
(greater than 64 percent iron content) pass through state
trading enterprises, with state-owned Minerals & Metals
Trade Co. acting as a clearinghouse. . . . It
appears the Indian government is using these measures to
improve supply and lower prices of inputs used by Indias
rapidly growing steel industry."
Other concerns include
Brazils tax breaks to exporters, including heavy
agricultural machinery manufacturers and automotive producers.
Argentina also has preferential import procedures that affect
flat-rolled and tube products, it said.
Russian trade policy also
remains a concern, particularly due to its floating export duty
rates linked to the London Metal Exchanges nickel price,
the report said, noting that Russia has pledged to eliminate a
number of its export duties, including those on nickel, copper
and aluminum, within four years of joining the World Trade