Steel Imports: US Investigation Causes A Stir

PUBLISHED 8 August 2017

US president Donald Trump declared an investigation into steel imports assuming they are a threat to national security. Therefore, he is threatening restrictions on steel imports, arousing the anger of the EU.


EU steel imports into USA

The investigation of steel imports comes from a push to revive industry in the ‘rust belt’ states. Those had swung the vote in Trump’s favour. On the other hand, there is the European Union – a major trading and security partner of the USA. The EU sees the actions as unfounded threat to their mutual wellbeing.

Security Concerns

In a move ostensibly taken to protect national security, on April 20, 2017 US President Donald Trump declared an investigation into the import of steel. The executive order will seek to determine whether global steel imports negatively impact US defence. In that case, protectionist measures shall be taken on imports.
US concerns arose over a dependency on foreign powers for steel that was thought to compromise national security. It also ties into Trump’s campaign promise to tackle cheap imports that he blames for stifling the US economy.

Success of the Steel Industry Comes to Nothing

The decision allegedly came after 150 antidumping and duty orders. All those did not raise the effect in reducing the negative impact of imports on the US steel industry. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, claimed these measures and the investigation were necessary. They are following a failure of the global community to assist in addressing the consequences of steel imports. The US blames the current system for its detrimental effect on maintaining a skilled and successful domestic steel industry.

Trump and China Disagree on Steel Imports

Viewing the rhetoric of his campaign trail, many thought China to be Trump’s principle target. The US president blames China for flooding the US with cheap steel. Even though the Chines did promise to better control excess production. In turn, Trump has also blamed this for driving down prices. This is causing steel workers losing their jobs and a weakened US steel manufacturing industry.
China has responded by claiming its steel imports to the US mostly consist of lower grade productions that local manufacturers are unwilling to produce. China also claims that shipments of Chinese steel to the US have fallen by 67 percent since 2015. Allegedly, Chinese steel accounts for only four percent of US imports.

Europe Counters

Trump maintains, however, that the investigation will be carried out to address what he considers to be a global problem. Should the investigation establish this, it is likely that the US will adopt broad protectionist measures in the form of limited or restricted imports.

The news has even prompted concern from the European Union, with trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström claiming that this will have a heavily detrimental impact on the EU. Conceding, these were clearly not measures taken specifically to target EU states, she stated they would nonetheless hit the bloc badly. Also, many would like the scope of the investigation to focus on issues of national security. Brussels will first need to see the outcome of the report before deciding what action to take. However, despite most EU member states being close security partners to the US, she made clear that such a move would provoke a currently unspecified European response in retaliation.

European Union Warns Against Trade War

The European Commission weighed in by raising that only three percent of US steel finds application in defence purposes. They said furthermore, there was little reason to believe that steel imports could compromise national security. Such a threat is hardly posed by EU member states. Malmström added, such behaviour causes the possibility of what might amount to a ‘trade war’. She stated that the EU suffers the same pressures the US faces from Chinese imports. But they are adamant, because the proposed US response is entirely disproportionate.
The report is due for completion by early 2018 with Wilbur Ross wishing to push for an earlier deadline.

Montanstahl Planed Ahead

logo_AmericaFor granting availability of stainless structural sections in the US, Montanstahl established a distribution company more than a decade ago in Florida: Stainless Structurals.
Beside the sales office, a large warehouse granted off the shelve availability of stainless steel beams, channels, angle and t-sections bars, all in stainless steel 304 and 316L right away. Nonetheless, duplex stainless steel is also used.

Special tailored sections had to be brought in after separate production in Switzerland.
So we opened a manufacturing facility in Conroe, Texas in 2012. So we can reduce delivery time and grant a better and quicker service on the market.
Today the productions ensures rapid availability of all kind of structural stainless steel profiles. Recent investments allow producing also square and rectangular laser welded profiles.
This means that no matter how the debate about US steel imports will end, we can helpt to secure constant and competitive availability of stainless steel structural sections made in America.

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