June 23, 2005
Steel-consuming industries in the U.S. will continue to face disruptions in the steel market as a result the International Trade Commission's (ITC's) vote June 21 to continue import restrictions on stainless steel sheet and strip products from six countries, according to the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) Steel Task Force.
"For the second time in six months, the ITC has voted to continue restrictions on basic raw materials vital to steel consumers in the United States," said Laurin Baker, executive director of the Steel Task Force. "U.S. steel consumers need access to stable, adequate supplies of globally priced steel in order to remain competitive in today's global economy. While we are encouraged that the ITC voted to revoke the orders on stainless steel sheet and strip products from France and the U.K., today's ITC decision to continue the orders for six other countries ensures that steel consumers will continue to experience market disruptions in the form of unpredictable lead times, unpredictable quality and unpredictable prices."
The ITC voted 4 to 2 to continue dumping orders for another five years on stainless steel sheet and strip products from Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Taiwan; and to revoke the orders for these products from France and the U.K. Steel consumers argued that the duties should be discontinued for all eight countries, because the record profits of U.S. steel producers made it highly unlikely that they would be harmed by removal of the duties. On April 14, despite similar arguments from steel-using manufacturers, the ITC voted 4 to 2 to continue dumping orders on certain hot-rolled, flat-rolled carbon steel products from Japan, Russia, Brazil, and several other countries.
"Even though steel consumers do not have official standing before the ITC, we were able to borrow time from foreign producers to explain the negative effects that continuing these dumping orders on stainless steel would have on U.S. consumers of those products, said Michael J. Lynch, vice president of government affairs for Illinois Tool Works (ITW). "Yet in spite of our arguments and requests from several members of congress that the ITC should fully consider the impact these orders have on consumers and the economy as a whole, not just steel producers, the ITC again conducted business as usual and protected one small segment of the economy to the detriment of its customers."