January 2017
Minimize
Consider the Tradeoffs of Trade Policies, Jobs
 
By Tim Triplett

Service centers are middlemen. To succeed, they need both a healthy supply base and a healthy customer base. Under the current conditions in the steel market, one appears to be gaining a considerable advantage at the expense of the other. Panelists at the Association of Steel Distributors fall conference Nov. 18 in Las Vegas sounded a warning.

Domestic steelmakers continue to test the limits of trade law when it comes to restricting imports. No other industry has filed more antidumping and countervailing duty trade cases than steel. Recent rulings by trade regulators have all but eliminated imports of low-cost Chinese steel into the U.S. And prices have responded. Flat-roll reportedly topped the $600 per ton mark at year’s end. Trade policies under the Trump administration, which numbers among its advisors Dan DiMicco, former head of Nucor Steel, are likely to restrict imports even further as a means of supporting the domestic steel industry and steel jobs.

But there are other jobs to consider, too, pointed out ASD panelist Joe Franczek, vice president of sales at Steel Warehouse Co. Trade policies need to be balanced, he said, otherwise more manufacturers may be forced offshore. “We understand well that the unfair trade practices of foreign countries have hurt American mills, but to take a one-sided approach is not good for our industry. Our customers, the OEMs, are under big pressure to lower their costs. We think some will begin moving their production if they believe they can produce their parts more cheaply elsewhere. If our trade policies make American steel pricing too high, we don’t think that’s healthy. We want to make sure it’s somehow kept in balance.”

“The problem is we have customers that are dealing on a global level with a very strong dollar. They are already under a lot of pressure,” said Carlos Rodriguez-Borjas, president and COO of Feralloy Corp. “When they see steel prices in the U.S. that are $100 to $150 per ton over the world price, they say the only way they can keep their products competitive is to source from other parts of the world. We have to protect the market from unfair trade practices, but we have to look at how we can protect the whole supply chain, not just individual industries.”

Using a gambling analogy fitting for Las Vegas, the presidential transition is sort of like a hand of Blackjack. Many steel executives are excited, as if they’ve been dealt an ace and are waiting for the next card to fall. The question is, when it comes to global trade, will the Trump card be a king or a deuce?
March 2017: Is Highway Funding a Bridge Too Far?
More...
 
Pause
March 2017: For Cargill, the Futures Are Now
More...
Fall 2016: Cutting & Sawing Equipment
More...
Summer 2016
More...
 
Pause
Advanced Controls on Braner Slitters
More...
AHVS Precision Leveler Features Flip-Top Design
More...
Formtek’s Tishken Slitter Increases Production Volume
More...
Red Bud System Handles High-Strength Steels
More...
Bradbury Launches Flat Trak CL Monitoring System
More...
Artus Knives Custom Designed
More...
 
Pause
Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use
Copyright by Metal Center News



Wednesday, April 26, 2017