Nucor Blames China For Poor Steel Orders
According to the Huffington Post, All Nucor's plant needs "is one crucial element that remains in disappointingly scarce supply: orders for steel. With the American economy still weak even as it shows signs of improvement, and with much of the globe shaking off the strains of a punishing downturn, demand for this basic building block of industry remains constrained.
Yet even if the global appetite for steel soon expands, Nucor--which claims distinction as the nation's largest steel-maker--frets it will be unfairly denied a slice of the spoils. Despite innovative manufacturing processes that make the company a seeming model of old school American ingenuity, managers say they are defenseless against what they describe as predatory competition from China, now the most prodigious steel producer on the planet.
China's steel producers wield an arsenal of unfair advantages, Nucor complains, from an artificially undervalued currency to near-limitless state credit and free land for new factories, resulting in surplus product landing on global markets at otherwise impossibly cheap prices--sometimes less than the cost of the raw materials.
The worst part of this, fumes Nucor's chief executive Dan DiMicco, is how little Washington does to defend American interests by forcing China to play by the rules of the global trading system.>"As long as we continue to be namby-pamby, weak-kneed negotiators, the Chinese will continue to cheat," DiMicco declared during a recent interview. "History has shown us again and again that if you appease bad behavior, you get more of it, not less of it, and it can lead to something catastrophic. Our very existence gets threatened."
Nucor is merely one voice (albeit a particularly strident one) in a swelling chorus of complaints from American business interests claiming grievous injury at the hands of unfair Chinese competitors. Much like manufacturers from the textile trade to the paper business, American steel producers have been demanding that the Obama administration take a harder line with China. They want the White House to slap protective tariffs on Chinese steel while branding Beijing guilty of manipulating the value of its currency, which they argue keeps Chinese-made products priced unfairly low on world markets."