Stainless steel imports and import penetration increased in January/November 2002 compared to the same 2001 period, according to the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA). By category, stainless steel sheet strip – the industry’s largest product line – increased 12% to 273,763 tons; stainless steel plate increased 29% to 54,311 tons. The 328,074 tonnage total of the two product lines for the first eleven months of 2002 already surpasses the 313,909 total for all of 2001. Neither product was included in the Bush Administration’s tariff relief programme implemented in March of 2002. Imports of stainless steel bar and rod – both covered by the programme – decreased 19% to 76,730 tons and 4% to 53,878 tons, respectively. Stainless steel wire increased 4% to 29,277 tons, despite inclusion in the relief programme.