AISI: Steel imports up substantially; industry urges import monitoring

May 27, 2004

Based on preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported May 25 that the U. S. imported a total of 2,436,000 net tons (NT) of steel in April (up 0.3 percent from March), including 2,056,000 NT of finished steel (up 5.7 percent). For the year- to-date (YD) compared to last year, total and finished steel imports are up 11.1 and 9.7 percent, respectively.

"Increased steel imports are not simply the result of an improving economy. At a meeting of North American steel producers and government officials in Ottawa last week, a united NAFTA steel industry expressed support for continued and improved steel import monitoring. There is growing concern about the potential for adverse impacts from an enormous buildup of subsidized steel capacity offshore, a slowing of the Chinese steel market, and the scheduled termination of the U.S.-Russia Comprehensive Steel Agreement. All interested parties—including highly competitive steel producers and our customers in North America—would benefit from timely, detailed and accurate steel import data," stated David S. Sutherland, president and CEO of IPSCO and chairman of AISI.

Andrew G. Sharkey, III, AISI president and CEO, said, "Short-term market conditions do not obscure the long-term need of the U. S. for an enhanced steel import monitoring system. We once again call upon the administration to meet its commitment—now long overdue—to implement this vital program, and will be urging members of congress to work with the administration and take other steps to ensure that this is done in a timely manner," Sharkey said.

Products with large increases in April compared to March include plate in coils (up 125 percent); concrete reinforcing bars and rods (up 106 percent); oil country goods (up 49 percent); standard pipe (up 46 percent); and bars-cold finished (up 22 percent).

Products with substantial increases YTD versus 2003 include rebar (up 79 percent); wire rods (up 61 percent); OCTG (up 59 percent); bars-light shapes (up 38 percent); wire-drawn and rolled (up 30 percent); structural shapes 3 in. and greater (up 27 percent); bars-hot rolled (up 19 percent); and semifinished steel, used in significant quantity by converters, (up 17 percent).