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US must make China play by WTO rules: ATI

Keywords: Tags  ATI, stainless steel, China, Richard Harshman, Daniel Fitzgerald

PITTSBURGH — The U.S. government must insist on China’s full compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules to help level the playing field for domestic stainless steel manufacturers, Allegheny Technologies Inc.’s (ATI’s) chairman, president and chief executive officer Richard Harshman said.

The stainless industry has changed dramatically with the rise of Chinese manufacturing, which rose to 36 percent of global stainless production in 2010 from 13 percent in 2005, ATI Harshman said in his keynote address at the Association for Iron and Steel Technology’s AISTech 2013 conference and exposition in Pittsburgh.

“The only question is whose rules they play by,” he said. “U.S. and European policymakers must engage and insist on China’s full WTO compliance, including an end to currency manipulation.”

Harshman also cited a rise in industry consolidation driven by customer demand for “fewer and more capable suppliers” as one of the key trends in the modern stainless market, noting that Pittsburgh-based ATI has been forced to adapt.

“We believe in U.S. manufacturing. We believe we can compete and be successful in a global economy. But to compete on a global basis, ATI must have the most advanced technologies, the most innovative products, and provide customers with a competitive cost structure,” he said.

“The pace of change now is greater than what I have seen in 35 years in this business. The markets we serve are more global, our competitors are more capable and our customers are more demanding,” he said. “And we believe that the status quo loses.”

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