Trade & Economic Competitiveness
The United States is one of the most competitive places in the world to manufacture steel. The nation enjoys marked advantages in practically every aspect of steelmaking, including raw material availability, energy costs, workforce productivity, access to capital and technology, and proximity to a sizable domestic market.
The U.S. has the world’s most open markets, and SMA supports free and fair trade based on the principles of comparative advantage. The same openness, however, should not be extended to illegally traded, dumped and subsidized material. The U.S. cannot allow other nations to directly violate the rules of international trade at the expense of the domestic economy.
Over the last decade, global steelmaking capacity has grown at an unprecedented rate. The world’s steel consumption, however, has not kept pace, contributing to a large and increasing gap between global capacity and demand. Now estimated to be in excess of 700 million tons, this excess capacity strains the profitability of even the most efficient producers.
The effect of global overcapacity has been, quite simply, to flood the U.S. market with imported steel. Restoring balance to the industry will require coordinated action by the global steelmaking community. While such action has been discussed for a number of years, these discussions have yet to yield sufficient results.
This does not mean that the United States should abandon any attempt to bring rationality to the global steel industry; but it does demonstrate that the U.S. may need to act on its own to ensure that its steel producers and their workers and customers are not driven out of business by imports.
National security is a core reason for the U.S. to have a strong, viable domestic steel industry. The U.S. cannot rely on offshore steel supplies to rebuild the nation’s energy sources, infrastructure, transportation network, roads, schools, water-works, bridges, airports and hospitals.