NEW YORK Top executives from a dozen companies sat down with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk and acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca M. Blank last week to discuss plans for a "proactive" government response to low-priced imports, Nucor Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Daniel R. DiMicco said.
"People are paying attention to the entire industry. We had 12 CEOs in this meeting last week; Ron Kirk, the ambassador, and the acting Secretary of Commerce and a dozen people from their staffs, and Im very optimistic good things will come from this," he said Tuesday during a keynote address at the Dahlman Rose & Co. third annual Global Metals, Mining and Materials Conference in New York.
DiMicco had said earlier this year that the Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker was working with representatives in Washington to develop tools to allow the domestic steel sector to respond to unfairly traded imports as theyre happening, rather than only retroactively (amm.com, April 20), and according to DiMicco, those discussions are now close to yielding results.
"The industry with the governmentas late as last weekare working to come up with a more proactive way to stop the surges before they start. Im not going to go into what it is were doingtheres no sense in showing our cards, our hand, to the competitionbut Im here to tell you this administration appears to be committed at this point," he said.
"Theres nothing to suggest based on past behavior that they wont be committed to this, to actually coming up with a way where the USTR and the Department of Commerce work together to stop the surges before they get started. That will be a very important thing for the steel industry, for Nucor, particularly in the downturns," DiMicco added.
DiMicco declined to comment on specific measures being addressed, but he did note that he expects to see change sooner rather than later. "Im confident we will come up with that solution and it shouldnt be something thats a year down the road," he said.
Until then, the domestic steel industry will continue to utilize the weapons already in its arsenal to battle low-priced imports, specifically the filing of trade cases. DiMicco reiterated Tuesday that he expects to see "a number" of trade cases filed in the next six to nine months on a variety of products entering the country.
"We as an industry have to use all the tools available to us if were going to give our teammates a chance to be successful," he said.
Only by tackling the issue of unfairly traded imports will the domestic steel industry be able to record a significant recovery, DiMicco told AMM on the sidelines of the event.