Policy Priorities

The Steel Manufacturers Association supports trade policies that sustain, strengthen and restore our domestic steel industry. The economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and national security of our Country cannot rely on unfairly traded foreign steel.

SMA encourages the Administration to maintain tariffs and enact laws and regulations that address global excess steel capacity, reduce import surges, and promote the production and use of sustainable American made steel.

Tariffs and trade policies must be supplemented with vigorous application of U.S. trade laws that level the playing field and provide government agencies with the resources to address dumping, transshipment, circumvention and evasion.

America’s participation in international forums such as the OECD Steel Committee, Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity and the World Trade Organization (WTO) should be rooted in the pursuit of verifiable commitments from major steel producing countries to reduce state sponsored capacity expansion and cross border subsidies. Enforcement and reforms developed by global steel trade groups should be WTO compliant and work towards eliminating market distorting practices.

Timely and effective implementation and enforcement of the landmark United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is essential to achieving the stated goals of increasing the production and use of steel produced in the region while improving labor and environmental standards.

The SMA stands ready to work with the President and Congress to pursue trade policies that complement the cross-sectional goals of sustainability, economic growth and National Security.

It is time for our leaders to strengthen the foundation of our society; to reinvest in that which makes our work and our daily lives possible: our nation’s infrastructure. Crumbling infrastructure impacts lives, families, jobs, communities and the economy.

For too long we have treated infrastructure investment as some kind casual choice that could be deferred indefinitely and addressed through superficial platitudes. It is time to turn promises into projects. Across the nation, Americans recognize that we have an urgent need to modernize our domestic infrastructure. With so much at stake, we cannot afford to wait any longer.

Every day, Americans see the consequences of lagging investment in our infrastructure. Roads are crumbling. Bridges are failing apart. Ports and waterways are backlogged with long-needed repair projects, airports and runways are clogged and congested, and the nation’s electricity grid is balanced precariously on the edge of failure. The nation’s water systems are strained, and our water pipes are deteriorating. The need for a national broadband system has been added to the ever-expanding list of Infrastructure focus areas, and it too requires steel for implementation.

We must commit to addressing these challenges, making these needed investments in a targeted, long-term, substantial way to ensure that America can remain a nation that creates and makes its future, thereby shaping our own destiny and enhancing our standard of living for decades to come. Our nation must commit to addressing these challenges through promoting domestic industrial production across all sectors to produce the materials that are needed to rebuild our infrastructure focus-areas.

Domestic procurement preferences such as “Buy America” creates benefits throughout the domestic supply chain, and promotes all the beneficial impacts that the U.S. EAF steel sector provides (employment; reduction of environmental impacts and generation of tax revenue).


Rising transportation costs are negatively impacting domestic steelmakers, and growing service issues are threatening relationships with important steel customers. We have reached a tipping point where the lack of competitive rail service is having a detrimental impact on making steel in America. We want to see healthy, profitable railroads that make investments to serve our industry and that operate in a market-oriented manner. That’s why SMA supports sensible improvements that would increase access to competitive freight rail service and that would modernize the Surface Transportation Board (STB). Specifically, we support the Board’s proposal to allow shippers access to reciprocal switching as a way to provide more freight rail options and maximize the efficiency of the existing rail network.

If America prioritizes its infrastructure, members of the SMA are ready to meet the challenge by supplying domestically produced sustainable steel. We cannot simply hope for a better tomorrow. We must build one.

The U.S. has emerged as one of the world’s leading energy producers, which creates a major advantage for domestic EAF steel makers. Here in the U.S., EAF steelmakers are continually considering opportunities within their operations to become more energy efficient. Domestic EAF operations are leading the way in finding innovative ways to use renewable energy., As government pursues a revitalized commitment to a domestic energy renaissance, with support from an expanding domestic renewable energy production component, the United States will continue to lead the world in energy generation for years to come.

Reliable, competitively priced electricity is essential to EAF operations. EAF facilities operate in over 20 U.S. states and now produce over 70% of the steel made in America. The dramatically lower carbon footprint of American EAF steelmaking, particularly as the carbon footprint of domestic electricity generation declines with the expansion of these renewably generated electricity sources, is a basic advantage of domestic energy self-sufficiency that should be promoted. Coherent and coordinated federal and state regulatory policies are needed to foster the continued growth in electrifying the domestic supply chain.

Strengthening the national grid through implementation of new technologies, green energy sources, and expanding and strengthening the physical transmission grid footprint will provide a more robust and modern national electricity delivery system, which will provide our society with confidence and comfort in electricity flowing when the light switch is turned “on.”
U.S. EAF steelmakers are proud to deliver responsible environmental stewardship through a commitment to sustainable practices, improving energy efficiency and reducing air/water/waste emissions from our process. The domestic EAF industry has led the way businesses advance sustainable manufacturing in America, and the results are clear.

Over the past 50 years, the domestic EAF steel process (steel scrap, energy – electrical or chemical – and alloys, heated and refined to steel) has expanded to represent over 70% of domestic steelmaking capacity, while reducing CO2 emissions for every ton of steel made in the EAF process by up to 75% over the more mature, integrated steelmaking process (iron ore, coal, coke, and other inputs, heated and refined to steel). Today, domestic EAF steel producers operate on average, at .19 tons of CO2 per ton of steel produced, while domestic integrated producers emit up to 1.9 tons of C02 for each ton of steel produced.

EAF steelmakers have sharply reduced the industry’s impact on the environment through a wide range of innovations, such as improvements to energy efficiency practices, the cleaning and recycling of water used in the EAF steelmaking process and implementing successful initiatives to reduce solid co-products.

With the right federal policies and regulations and a balance between environmental protection and commercial opportunity, EAF steelmakers are proving there can be a balance to achieve both a clean environment and a prosperous economy. This sector looks forward to continuing to lead the way toward a healthy environment, and a stronger economy.
Steelmaking is a high tech, 21st century job of the future. It requires hard work, innovation, and an entrepreneurial spirit. It also demands a good knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The workforce of the future will be one that can take on new challenges. The goal is to create a workforce made up of motivated, exceptional workers who want a career in an industry that is the backbone of our Nation.

To advance that goal SMA supports innovative policy and hands on programs to attract, train and retain the next generation of steel workers. SMA encourages federal, state and local governments to partner with business and unions to:

  • Ensure adequate funding and promotion of STEM education programs
  • Improve access to community colleges that offer associate degrees and certifications geared toward manufacturing jobs by increasing the maximum Federal Pell Grant
  • Recognize that Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs) complement rather than compete with traditional Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) by offering apprenticeship offerings into a wider array of industries and to a larger number of workers
  • Expand registered apprenticeships programs that create living wage jobs and provide lifetime skills training
  • Reinstate the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships
  • Increase funding of The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) to help America’s veterans, prepare for meaningful careers after serving their country
Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce requires us to bridge the talent gap. To attract a new generation of workers, the steel industry should work together with stakeholders to change the perception of work in manufacturing and expand and diversify its talent pipeline.
SMA supports a domestic manufacturing agenda, including trade and tariff policy, that restores and encourages the growth of America’s industrial base. We applaud current efforts to create more resilient and secure supply chains for “critical” and “essential” goods such as steel while minimizing Chinese dominance of key supply chains.

Thousands of manufacturing jobs and scores of companies have been lost due unfair trade, excessive taxes, regulatory overreach, and lack of training opportunities. Our country has shifted too far towards service sector jobs which too often consist of low wages, low hours and poor benefits that foster income and job insecurity.

Manufacturing jobs tend to be full-time with benefits and opportunities for advancement and retraining. They also support small and mid-sized companies that serve the supply chain needs of larger companies. Many of them are family-owned, with generations working in the same facility for years, strengthening community life in cities and towns across America. The wages and benefits of SMA member companies are typically among he best in the communities where they operate.

We encourage the Administration and Congress to seize the opportunity to modernize and transform our manufacturing base to make it the cleanest, most sustainable and most advanced in the world. Steelmakers are ready to help. SMA members continue to invest in people, process and equipment using clean technology every day.

A strong economic recovery will not be possible without a strong manufacturing industry. Investments and policy decisions made today will protect jobs and ensure that manufacturing in America remains viable and ready to lead robust economic growth.
Iron and steel scrap is a vital raw material to produce new steel products. The steelmaking industry in the United States is highly dependent upon the ready availability of scrap from manufacturing operations and from the recovery of products that are no longer used or needed. The steel industry has been recycling steel scrap for over 100 years.

Steel scrap recycling conserves raw materials, energy, and landfill space. The domestic steel industry recycles millions of metric tons per year of steel cans, automobiles, appliances, construction materials, and other steel products. The primary source of obsolete steel is the automobile. The remelting of scrap requires much less energy than the production of iron and steel products from iron ore. Consumption of iron and steel scrap by remelting reduces the burden on landfill disposal facilities and prevents the accumulation of abandoned steel products in the environment.

No country is self-sufficient in every raw material. Some metals and minerals are found in only a few countries, therefore the strong concentration of production means that restrictions on trade in such materials are particularly disruptive to global supply chains.

The SMA believes in the free and fair trade of raw materials, such as ferrous scrap, that is consistent with both the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Export restrictions on raw materials not only impact the cost of products but also introduce uncertainty of access to supply for producers of semi-processed and final-consumption goods. These restrictions have created trade frictions and led to trade disputes.

SMA supports a domestic raw materials policy that is based on fee market principles, rules-based trade and free of export restrictions and taxes.
As we continue discussions surrounding the need to improve our infrastructure, U.S. companies should have the first opportunity to supply materials used to build roads, bridges, ports, water systems and other critical infrastructure.

Buy America is a simple concept that makes sense. American tax dollars spent on public projects should stay in the U.S. and support our national economy. We should not subsidize jobs overseas when cost-competitive, sustainably produced, high quality goods are available here. Buy America has broad bipartisan support and ensures that we first look to U.S. manufacturers instead of overseas competitors. According to a poll conducted by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) 74 percent of Americans say that large infrastructure projects financed with taxpayer money should be built using American materials and workers. The SMA believes that the steel used in these projects should be melted and poured domestically and be made by Americans for Americans.

Buy America procurement preferences prevent us from relying on other countries, like China, for steel and materials used for producing infrastructure and our national defense systems such as fighter jets, tanks and ships. We must strengthen Buy America laws and close loopholes that allow our tax dollars to employ foreign workers and bring high carbon emitting products to our shores.

Countries like China, capitalize on excess steel production overcapacity and subsidies, creating a detrimental impact on the steel industry. Because America has higher environmental and labor standards, it is critically important to support policies that promote domestic steelmakers and lower CO2 emissions. The impact of supporting the American steel industry goes far beyond the jobs related to the steelmaker. For every domestic steel-manufacturing job, seven additional jobs are created in the economy.

To “Build Back Better” we must continue to support policies that keep our jobs in place, tax dollars at home and steel industry strong.
The U.S. government, construction industry, manufacturers and end users should consider the full life cycle of products when creating policy and making material selections. Only by doing this, can the actual impact of each stage of a product’s life be calculated and fully understood. Too often, decisions are made based only on the production phase or aspirational statements about a material leading to inappropriate material selection choices and policy decisions.

Examples include some of the myths about wood and aluminum light weighting. Because wood grows, many people mistakenly consider it a green material. The reality is that groups as diverse as the World Wildlife Foundation, the Sierra Club, and the Climate Institute are all concerned about wood harvesting devastating the ecosystem and damaging biodiversity.

In automotive applications aluminum is more expensive, corrosive and harder to repair than steel. In many other applications, steel has a very long service life and as a result the contribution of next generation steels in improving the energy efficiency of buildings, machinery, plants and transportation is very important.

In fact, America’s builders, makers and consumers are already using the greenest structural and manufacturing material available: American steel. It is greener than aluminum, concrete, composites and wood, has more recycled content, and is endlessly recyclable.

Over 70 percent of American steel is made with a clean technology (the Electric Arc Furnace or EAF) that uses electricity to melt down old refrigerators, cars, decommissioned buildings and bridges. In fact, domestically produced steel contains over 95% recycled content, on average — a remarkable feat that no other construction or manufacturing material has come close to matching. The EAF steel industry saw the future a generation ago and has been producing a high-quality product while reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistently over the past five decades.

Drop us a line and let’s talk steel.

SMA Office
1150 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 1125
Washington, D.C. 20036

Telephone: (202) 296-1515
Email: info@steelnet.org