Steel Mills

MSCI Appeals for ‘Swift, Decisive Action’ on Section 232

Written by Tim Triplett

The Metals Service Center Institute is urging the Trump administration to take “swift, decisive action on the Section 232 steel investigation to bring certainty to the marketplace.”

In a letter to President Trump last Thursday, MSCI President and CEO Robert Weidner, III, and Chairman R. Holman Head, stated that “problems posed by foreign government-sponsored capacity expansion demand a comprehensive response from the U.S. government.”

Since the president announced the Section 232 investigation last April, steel imports have surged, hitting a 29-month high in June. Imports are up 22 percent through July over the same period in 2016.

“The decline of service center shipments leaves no question the U.S. steel industry has suffered from unfair trade practices and global overcapacity,” wrote officials from the trade group. “Carbon steel shipments from MSCI member companies in 2016 were only 66 percent of peak shipments before the 2008 recession. These losses mean fewer American jobs and lower wages and have resulted in the continuing decline of countless American communities,” they said. 

In written testimony submitted in May, MSCI argued that the administration must consider both the upstream and downstream effects of any potential remedy. “The U.S. government has rightfully imposed tariffs on various metals from countries that it has deemed to be unfairly subsidizing its metal exports to the United States. There is growing evidence, however, that in an attempt to circumvent those rightfully imposed duties, the Chinese and others are simply processing that same steel into steel parts. Our members believe that these countries cannot be allowed to continue to circumvent U.S. rules and regulations in this manner. We need solutions for the entire supply chain.”

MSCI’s testimony requested that the administration not only consider the economic impact of global overcapacity on the entire domestic metals industry, it also asked that any new policies ensure the availability of domestic metals to meet U.S. national security needs, as well as general industrial and consumer demand, and that they exclude Canada and Mexico from any Section 232 penalties.

The Commerce Department has until January to send the results of its Section 232 investigation to the White House, but comments from trade officials in the press suggest the report will be submitted well before that deadline.

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