PITTSBURGH The United
States must address foreign scrap export restrictions and
invest in infrastructure if mini-mills are to remain
competitive, industry players said in testimony Friday before
the Congressional Steel Caucus.
"Excessive foreign purchases of
U.S. scrap are hollowing out our domestic scrap supply, while
other countries own scrap export restrictions distort
markets and discourage the development of needed recycling
networks," Jim Anderson, general manager of Steel Dynamics Inc.
(SDI)-owned the Techs, testified during the session on behalf
of the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA).
Anderson told the five lawmakers
present at the meeting that they appear to be indifferent to
the foreign appetite for U.S.-based scrap.
Ferrous scrap exports totaled
nearly 24.3 million tonnes in 2011, according to U.S. Commerce
Department data, which represented about one-third of all of
the material generated in the country for the year.
While the United States freely
sells its scrap offshore, 26 foreign governments have imposed
scrap barriers. Russia, the latest country to initiate such
action, has now restricted exports through two ports, Anderson
"These measures could deny the
U.S. and other World Trade Organization (WTO) members the
benefits of commitments that Russia has made in connection with
its accession to the WTO," he said at the meeting, arranged by
Rep. Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) to hear how policymakers can help
support the steel industry.
"Pervasive foreign government
controls have distorted world markets for both steel and raw
materials that are used in steelmaking. Governments that
provide subsidized investment and control the movement of raw
materials through trade barriers directly violate WTO
agreements," Anderson added.
SDI owns OmniSource Corp., the
Fort Wayne, Ind.-based producers scrap arm.
Anderson also recommended that
lawmakers step up their investment in infrastructure
improvements, which would require the use of steel. He
expressed support for a proposed National Infrastructure Bank,
an entity that could leverage hundreds of billions of dollars
in private capital to make needed investments, calling the
concept "an idea whose time has come."