Letter to the Editor: Foreign Steel Clarifications
The recent ' Letter to the Editor ' by Thomas Danjczek, President of the SMA, needs some clarification.
1. Over the last 40 years the USA had to import about 20-25% of the steel consumed in this country simply because we didn't produce enough. It all started in the 60's when the USW went on strike and threatened to cripple a booming industry. That's when the Europeans started to export to the USA in bigger quantities.
2. Almost 30% of all steel imports are semi finished products imported by US mills. One can safely assume that these imports are not “heavily subsidized .....and dumped in our market ...”
3. About 30% of all imports are coming from the two NAFTA countries who also happen to be the destination of more than 75% of our own exports. Why are the US mills not participating in the truly international market?
4. Although imports from China (probably Mr. Danjczek main target) increased in 2011 from 2010, they accounted for only 4.3% of all imports.
5. Mr. Danjczek states that the “US steel industry is a low cost industry globally ". Not only does that not reflect in today's US domestic prices it also doesn't consider the substantial inland freight costs in this country. It is a lot cheaper to ship steel from Turkey, Korea or Brazil to Houston than from most US domestic mills.
Nobody is in favor of unfair trade and I appreciate Mr. Danjczek continued efforts to promote American manufacturing. Many ( certainly not all ) of the steel mills who went out of business in the past 25 years did so because of poor management , burdensome pension liabilities and inefficient production costs. If it weren't for the scrap based ' mini mills ' in the USA we would have to import even more steel. The last blast furnace built in the USA was in 1967 in Burns Harbor.
A Steel Trading Company Executive