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Steel industry must unite on trade: Rehwinkel

Keywords: Tags  Evraz North America, Michael Rehwinkel, American Iron and Steel Institute, AISI, trade, steel, imports, manufacturing Catherine Ngai

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The steel industry faces major challenges in both the trade and regulatory arenas in the year ahead, according to Michael T. Rehwinkel, newly elected chairman of the American Iron and Steel Institute.

"When it comes to public policy, it’s important for the steel industry to speak with one voice," Rehwinkel told AMM in an e-mail. "The issues I think are the most critical for our industry right now are trade and the regulatory approval process."

An influx of low-priced foreign imports has hurt domestic steel producers, he said. "U.S. steel manufacturers are being put in a very difficult position by foreign steel producers who are heavily subsidized by their governments and who are flooding North America with steel—primarily pipe—while we lose project business and have excess steel production capacity here at home."

Economic growth also will require access to affordable energy, said Rehwinkel, who is president and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Evraz Inc. North America.

"The (proposed) Keystone XL pipeline, which is an important step in our country’s progress toward energy independence, has been unreasonably delayed by an overly stringent and bureaucratic regulatory approval process," he said. "Even though the pipeline has met extensive regulatory requirements, including the State Department’s, it still hasn’t been allowed to proceed and generate needed jobs."

In an address to AISI members during the organization’s annual general meeting in Colorado Springs May 17, Rehwinkel told delegates that the industry will continue taking action to improve workplace safety standards. "With our one voice, North American steel can become the standard-setter for other manufacturing sectors," he said.

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