US steel executives appeal directly to Trump for import restrictions

Dhaka,  Mon,  25 September 2017
Published : 25 Aug 2017, 22:34:24
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US steel executives appeal directly to Trump for import restrictions

US steel executives appeal directly to Trump for import restrictions
WASHINGTON, Aug 25 (Reuters): American steel industry executives have appealed directly to President Donald Trump for immediate import restrictions in a letter seen by Reuters, as a US Commerce Department national security probe languishes and steel imports surge back to 2015 levels.

Senior executives from 25 US steel and steel-related companies sent the letter to Trump late on Wednesday, saying the industry was suffering the consequences of government inaction that could change with his "bold leadership" and "America First" vision. "The need for action is urgent. Since the 232 investigation was announced in April, imports have continued to surge," the executives said in the letter.

"Immediate action must meaningfully adjust imports to restore healthy levels of capacity utilization and profitability to the domestic industry over a sustained period," they wrote.

A White House spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment on the letter.

The Commerce Department has delayed the release of its recommendations from a "Section 232" investigation into whether steel imports pose a threat to national security, a finding that could lead to Trump imposing broad quotas or tariffs on steel imports.

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), an industry trade group, reported on Wednesday that total steel imports through July this year were up 22 per cent from the same period a year ago, with imports taking 28 per cent of the US market.

Imports captured 30 per cent of the US market in June, according to Commerce Department data compiled by the institute. Steel imports dipped briefly last year because of Commerce Department anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties imposed on steel products from China and some other countries.

The letter followed last week's departure of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who had been a vocal advocate for steel tariffs and other trade protections in the administration's internal debates over trade.

The executives from companies including Nucor Corp US Steel, ArcelorMittal and Commercial Metals Co said the sustained surge of steel imports into the United States had "hollowed out" much of the domestic steel industry and was threatening its ability to meet national security needs.
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