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Steel Success Strategies: Legislation must 'stop the flow of imported steel'

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China steel graphic

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See how steelmakers think China will impact on US scrap prices.

by Sian Jones, Senior Programme Manager, AMM Events; 12 May, 2014

The US steel industry is witnessing signs of recovery, driven by an upturn in automotive demand, the booming oil and gas sector and positive signs in commercial construction. However, the market could be greatly affected by a number of factors, both home and abroad, and government intervention is key as to how the industry progresses.

Indeed, our recent Steel Success Strategies XXIX survey of North American steel professionals highlighted that legislation remains a key topic for discussion. Overwhelmingly, our steel respondents cited anti-dumping legislation as a key reform.

“We need to stop the flow of imported steel. Why are we allowing China to prosper in their steel industry when they are government subsidized and, at the same time, not a cooperative trade partner or global partner ecologically? Our leaders scream ‘green’ technology; China could give two hoots about the environment,” said one steel executive in our survey.

But would any subsequent trade laws be enough? The improved health of the US economy makes it a target for steel imports -- rebar and OCTG from China and Asia, in particular. This issue has led the US Commerce Department to officially launch a dumping and subsidy investigation into these two products.

Our survey respondents suggest that unless laws encompass all incoming foreign steel legislation will fall short. Legislation must address "dumping at the source as it relates to all steel products – cheap Chinese HRC that is sent to Vietnam and converted into pipe is still dumping when it gets to the US", said one steel executive.

Other responses highlighted the need for infrastructure spending and that the administration is on a "ridiculously predatory EPA path towards eliminating some industries".

According to our Steel Success Strategies XXIX survey of North American steelmakers, the main impact on scrap prices in the US will be slowing Chinese demand and Chinese economic slowdown.

Read more from Steel Success Strategies XXIX

Q&A: Will there be a US steel manufacturing renaissance?
Infographic: Will US steel succeed or survive?
Infographic: When will China impact on US scrap prices?
AMM: Mills troubled by scrap supply issues, quality
Steel First: Steel vs Aluminium - What side are you on?