The following is a press release from the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS):
Falls Church, VA. March 10, 2017. Steel imports started 2017 with a small increase, growing 3.1 percent from December’s total to reach 2.77 million net tons.
January’s imports were 7.4 percent higher than the January 2016 total.
Imports from Canada, South Korea and Japan recorded big increases from December, with imports from Canada spiking 22.3 percent to 531,000 net tons, imports from South Korea up 18 percent to 311,000 net tons, and imports from Japan growing 15 percent to 177,000 net tons. Compared to a year earlier, imports from Canada and South Korea were up 8.8 percent and 29.4 percent, respectively, while imports from Japan were down 18.7 percent. Imports from the European Union fell 34.6 percent from December – and 14.4 percent from the previous January – to 288,000 net tons, while imports from Brazil dropped 17.2 percent from December – and 12.7 percent from January 2016 – to 296,000 net tons.
Semifinished imports totaled 484,000 net tons in January, 34.4 percent higher than a year earlier.
This is a precarious time for steel imports. While there appears to be increased optimism about the economy as a whole, the Trump administration clearly wants to promote the domestic steel industry, both through infrastructure spending and trade regulations and enforcement. By artificially limiting the market for steel, though, these policies will force businesses – and, ultimately, consumers – to pay more, potentially slowing economic growth while, at the same time, boosting inflationary pressures. This economic nationalism is one of the worst things that can be done to the nation’s economy.