LOS ANGELES The U.S. Commerce Departments Bureau of Industry and Security has reportedly contacted titanium companies in recent weeks and instructed them to complete an extensive questionnaire on their business practices, sources told AMM.
"We had to supply everything from our list of top customers to inventory levels, to the products we supply," according to one distributor, who couldnt remember ever having to comply with a similar survey.
"They want to know everything," a second industry source said.
The agency couldnt be reached for comment April 9.
While an official reason for the survey wasnt given, market sources speculated that the move was related to political tensions between Russia and the United States over recent events in Ukraine, and resulting concerns about future supply issues. However, industry sources said they havent run into problems so far.
Russia and other former Soviet states are important global sources of titanium, although their role in the United States is overwhelmingly for nondefense, commercial aerospace programs and industrial applications.
"There wasnt an option about filling it out," the second industry source said of the questionnaire.
The survey has spurred some speculation that the government might be starting to think about re-establishing a strategic titanium stockpile. It sold off the last of its titanium sponge stockpile in 2005.