NEW YORK Gerdau
Long Steel North America has laid off 13 employees at two of
its reinforcing bar mills, citing import pressure and slow
"Due to a surge in
rebar imports at a time of slow economic recovery in the U.S.,
the company was forced to make work force adjustments at our
Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Midlothian, Texas, mills in
August," a Gerdau spokesman told AMM.
This included the
layoff of one crew at each of the two sites.
Gerdau was among five
domestic rebar producers that filed a petition Sept. 4 seeking
investigations into imports of rebar from Turkey and Mexico (
amm.com, Sept. 4).
Turkish and Mexican
rebar import volumes have ballooned at a time when U.S.
construction activity is still in the early stages of recovery
following the recession, domestic producers said Sept. 25 at a
hearing with the International Trade Commission (ITC) on the
rebar trade case. Imports from Turkey and Mexico rose 68.4
percent in 2012 over the previous year to 841,294 tonnes.
As a result, domestic
mills have been forced to run at less than 60 percent of
capacity this year, according to petitioners data
submitted as part of the trade case filing to the ITC. Rebar
prices have remained stagnant since summer, at around $645 per
ton ($32.25 per hundredweight).
Gerdau indicated that it could rehire the workers if it were
granted trade relief.
"We would really like
to rehire these workers and increase the shipments out of these
mills. But for this to happen, Gerdaunot
importsmust capture the benefit of any improving demand,"
Jim Kerkvliet, Gerdaus vice president of commercial
sales, said during the ITC hearing. "Granting trade relief will
not create construction demand. However, it will allow American
workers to benefit if demand recovers."
The Midlothian plant has a rebar capacity of 450,000 tons
per year, and Rancho Cucamonga has a furnace capacity of
560,000 tons per year, according to the Association for Iron
and Steel Technologys 2012 directory.