Steel Products

Economist Alan Beaulieu to Speak at 2018 SMU Steel Summit Conference.

Written by Tim Triplett

Popular economist Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics will make another appearance as a keynote speaker for Steel Market Update’s premier event, the 2018 Steel Summit Conference, set for Aug. 27-29 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.

Beaulieu will offer an insightful overview of U.S. economic trends and their implications for those associated with the manufacturing, distribution and the greater steel industry.

No doubt, foreign trade and the Trump administration’s renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement will be a hot topic. “We can ill afford to alienate our North American trading partners given their importance to our domestic economy via exports,” Beaulieu says. “This is why we do not believe there will be major injurious changes to NAFTA; doing so would be illogical. We also cannot afford to alienate Europe as a trading partner. We will have to adjust our forecasts if there are major changes in our trade agreements with these regions.”

Many underestimate the importance of exports to U.S. economic growth, Beaulieu says. Exports of goods and services for the 12 months ending September 2017 accounted for 11.8 percent of GDP or $2.295 trillion in nominal dollars. “Most people seem to think we are a minor exporter compared to China and other countries. The reality is that we are the second largest exporter of goods and services in the world measured in U.S. dollars. We sell capital goods like aircraft, automobiles and machinery to a host of nations. Thanks to fracking, we now export oil, too.”

Three factors support exports through at least the near term, Beaulieu says: For one, the U.S. makes goods other nations want to buy. “There is a plethora of auto manufacturers around the world, yet cars made in the U.S. are in demand elsewhere” Two, economies of Europe, Canada, Mexico and China are expanding, which makes it possible for others to buy U.S. goods and services. And third, the [weakening] value of the U.S. dollar is favorable for exports through at least the near term.

“Do not buy into the myth that the U.S. cannot compete globally, and that we do not sell goods to other countries. It is simply not true,” Beaulieu says. “Instead, we encourage you to strategize on how to do business with the companies that make these exported products or become an exporter yourself.”

Registration is open for the 2018 event, our 8th SMU Steel Summit Conference. We welcome anyone interested in the greater steel and manufacturing industries. The 2018 SMU Steel Summit Conference will be the largest steel conference in North America for the second year.

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