Specialty global trade talks (2/4)

The specialty steel industry confronted yet another year of substantial losses of US market share to imports, according to year-end data released by the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA).
“These latest statistics reflect that for the third consecutive year, specialty steel imports captured more than a quarter of the US market with little variance in the percentages,” said SSINA Chairman Paul A. Kelly. Imports took a 26% bite out of the US specialty steel market in 2002, which reflects no change from 2001 and a 2-percentage point drop from 2000. In terms of tonnage, the industry closed last year’s books with total specialty steel imports reaching 681,580 tons compared to a 2001 total of 689,728 tons. “Lackluster demand coupled with expanding world-wide capacity does not bode well for our industry in the short-term. Our goal this year is to ensure our long-term viability by working with our government representatives to take steps toward a rational global market through matching steel production with need and eliminating foreign government subsidies,” explained Kelly. Steelmakers and government representatives from some 40 countries agreed in December 2001 to reduce excess capacity by almost 100 million tons, or about 9% of world production, over a 10-year period. Separately, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Steel Committee is leading discussions on government subsidies, hoping for a draft proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) before the WTO ministerial meetings in Cancun, Mexico, in September.

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