CHICAGO Unfairly traded imports continue to negatively
impact the U.S. steel market, with the pipe sector in
particular feeling the pinch, according to leading executives
from a number of domestic mills.
The domestic steel industry did a good job of staying lean
following the economic downturn, Michael Rehwinkel, president
and chief executive officer of Evraz Inc. North America, said
March 13 at Platts 9th Annual Steel Markets North America
Conference in Chicago.
However, growing demand during the recovery should be met
by North American producers but its not. (Foreign) pipe
is pouring into our market.
The renaissance of automotive, construction, oil and gas
should be met by our production, not foreign production,
Sergei Kuznetsov, chief executive officer of Severstal North
America Inc., confirmed its a growing problem and
possibly an indication that trade remedies are not working like
I go to Home Depot in Detroit and see pipe from India. We
have (domestically sourced) low-cost natural gas, low-cost
coal, low-cost iron oreeverythingand we still
cant compete with that (Indian pipe on price).
Theres something wrong with that. We have to enforce U.S.
trade laws and stop the import surge, Kuznetsov said.
A failure to do so is keeping domestic steelmakers under
pressure, he added.
I dont think low capacity utilization (70 to 75
percent) is the new normal, Kuznetsov said. That is
barely enough to sustain our asset base in good shape.
ThyssenKrupp (AGs North American segment) is struggling
and no one showed up to pick up RG Steel (LLC)s assets in
bankruptcy. That is telling.
Mario Longhi, executive vice president and chief operating
officer for U.S. Steel Corp., Pittsburgh, hinted that domestic
pipe producers are considering filing a complaint with trade
authorities, echoing others who have already suggested this
might happen (
amm.com, Feb. 28
The problem of rightsizing (domestic capacity) is not
sufficient to overcome the tremendous invasion of products, and
I do not believe that it is all fairly traded, he said,
warning that imports are growing exponentially from countries
that used to trade little here, including Saudi Arabia and
Kuznetsov noted that import data arent complete, since
imports of semi-finished products that get rolled here are not
included in the official tube import numbers.
I see a bright future, economically, in supplying the
construction market, Rehwinkel added, but it should
be us, not imports.