Steel Products Prices North America

Zekelman Gives Employees a Bonus in Show of Support for S232

Written by David Schollaert

Zekelman Industries has lauded the Biden administration for continuing to support the Section 232 tariffs. In fact, the company celebrated the anniversary and continuation of Section 232 by giving employees a $1,000 bonus. Barry Zekelman, CEO and Executive Chairman of the Chicago-based pipe and tube manufacturer, praised the Trump-era tariff, but called on the president to improve the current tariff system to close gaps that allow for circumvention.

“We congratulate the Biden/Harris administration on their support of the domestic steel industry,” said Zekelman. “The tariffs that resulted from the Section 232 investigation regarding domestic steel are critical to level the playing field for domestic producers who too often in the past have been forced to compete against unfairly traded foreign products.”

Zekelman noted that the drop in imports resulting from Section 232 has aided his company in a number of respects, allowing it to grow the business and make capital investments “to levels that were unthinkable just a few years ago” of more than $350 million. The company has paid $10.3 million in annual Section 232-labeled bonuses to its employees.

Zekelman thanked the Biden administration for maintaining the tariffs, but called on the administration to enhance the current international trade system to close loopholes that still allow foreign steel to evade the protective measures. “The tariffs have led to a significant drop in steel imports and, in particular, pipe and tube imports from countries that have abused and gamed our trading rules for decades,” Zekelman added. “Although the tariffs have been a big help, we continue to see violations and abuse of our trade systems. Without the continued bipartisan support of our steel industry and its consumers, I fear we may slip back to the old days of abuse and attack from foreign bad actors.”

Since Section 232 was signed into effect in March 2018, putting a 25% tariff on most steel imports, total imports of tubular products have tumbled from nearly 70% of domestic market share to about 42% today. That’s a shift from 851,126 tons per month of foreign tubular products to 192,151 tons per month currently. As expected, domestic steel prices have soared partly in response to the tariffs, reaching a record of more than $1,300 per ton for hot rolled coil. Being that pipe and tube products are made from HRC, their pricing has also reached new highs.

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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