U.S. steelmakers should be wary of advanced negotiations
for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), particularly when
certain issuessuch as those involving countries with
state-owned enterprisesmay in turn hurt domestic
strong provisions in the TPP with regard to disciplines
involving state-owned enterprises and currency," Thomas J.
Gibson, president and chief executive officer of the American
Iron and Steel Institute, told AMM on the sidelines of
the World Steel Association annual conference in São
"Were not TPP
proponents, but were saying if youre going to have
TPP, make sure you take care of these issues. We have to make
sure there are remedies for state-owned enterprises if they act
in non-market ways," Gibson said.
In 2009, President
Obama announced the United States intention to
participate in the TPP, which would create a trade partnership
with 12 Asia-Pacific players, including Australia, Japan,
Vietnam and Malaysia. After years of negotiations, the
administration has said it aims to wrap up the trade pact by
Some steel advocates
have called TPP the "gold standard" that will set the bar for
future trade agreements, particularly those involving China,
while others are hesitant to recognize its advantages.
In the meantime, the
U.S. government is also in trade discussions with the European
Union over another agreement. Gibson said, however, that since
there are no tariffs on steel with regard to Europe and the
United States, there is "arguably no effect to steel."
Trade has been an
important topic for the U.S. industry this year, particularly
after steelmakers filed a number of high-profile cases
involving reinforcing bar as well as oil country tubular
"The reason why
youre seeing trade cases this year is because the surge
of imports really occurred 18 months ago. Thats the
nature of a trade caseyou have to build a case and
its based on data thats always goingto lag," Gibson
said. "Since 2010, weve seen a real spike in imports, and
theyve remained at elevated levels through 2012-2013,
including products like corrosion-resistant rebar, line pipe
and hot-rolled bar."
Gibson added that
while trade laws arent meant to "cut out" countries from
the United States, the goal is to ensure that international
rules are followed.
"Overcapacity in the
world is still a concern to us," he said. "This is the most
open market in the world and we couldnt close it even if
we wanted to."