US stainless imports

According to the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA), imports of specialty steel captured 28% of the US market in YTD March 2002, a one percentage point decrease from last year. Three-month import penetration for stainless steel, the industry’s largest product line, remained at 27%. According to SSINA Chairman H. L. Kephart, “In 2000, the industry lost 27% of the US specialty steel market to imports; in 2001, 26% was lost. And now we’re looking at 28% of the US market being captured by imports in the first quarter of this year. Confronted with more than a quarter of US market share lost to imports, the industry continues to closely monitor all imports, particularly those subject to Section 201 tariffs and antidumping and countervailing duties, to ensure compliance with unfair trade laws and that no circumvention is occurring.â€? The Section 201 tariffs on stainless steel bar, rod and wire went into effect on 20 March. Their initial impact should be reflected in next quarter data.
In addition, Kephart said that the industry remains concerned about the pressure from imports on tool steel and stainless steel cut plate, both of which are not covered by Section 201, and that a monitoring programme is in place on these imports as well. The data reflect no change in overall stainless steel imports in the first quarter of this year (136,648 tons compared to last year’s 136,908 tons.) By product line, stainless steel imports in the 2002 first quarter ranged from an increase of 31% to a decrease of 23%, as follows: stainless steel rod imports increased 31%; stainless steel plate, 26%; stainless steel wire, 2%; and stainless steel bar decreased 23%. Sheet and strip, the product that accounts for more than half of the stainless steel imports, decreased 2% in YTD March 2002 to 69,805 from last year’s 71,580 tons. Tool steel and electrical steel imports decreased 23% and 8%, respectively.

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