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US steel industry hurt by trade barriers: AISI

Keywords: Tags  American Iron and Steel Institute, AISI, trade barriers, report, USTR, Kevin Dempsey, steel industry, coke zinc

NEW YORK — Trade restrictions from a number of countries are distorting global trade and international competition for the U.S. steel industry, according to a 33-page American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) report submitted last month to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office.

One particular area of concern is China’s dispute settlement proceeding at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over export restraints on raw materials—such as coke, bauxite and zinc—necessary to steelmaking, according to Kevin Dempsey, AISI senior vice president of public policy and general counsel and author of the report. It also points out that India, one of the world’s leading producers of iron ore, coal and chromite, restricts exports of those materials, creating global price volatility.

Steel scrap is also a cause for concern because world demand has "steadily increased over the last few years, and is expected to rise further due to increased steel production in countries like China, India, Turkey and Brazil," the report said.

AISI added that some 30 countries—including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan and Nigeria—have certain or complete restrictions on exports of scrap, resulting in "severe shortages and increased prices."

The AISI report also said import barriers, such as tariffs and other customs distortions, are problematic, including Argentina’s "broad use of non-automatic import licensing trade balancing requirements" and Russia’s retention of tariffs on steel products, even as a member of the WTO.

The report was written in response to a request from the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office to help identify foreign barriers to U.S. exports of goods and services (, Aug. 15).

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