Steel imports increased by 38 percent in 2014.
The Obama administration likes to talk about exports. What they should be talking about is imports – steel imports in particular.
The domestic steel industry is facing a surge of foreign imports. Steel imports increased by 38 percent in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Already this year, there has been a 36 percent increase in steel imports from the same period in 2014.
So where is all this steel coming from? China. The Wall Street Journal reports:
China’s steel exports rose 63% to 9.2 million tons in January from a year earlier, a rise that puts them on pace this year to beat the 82.1 million tons China exported last year. That number increased 59% from 2013 and was the most steel ever exported by any country this century.
China produces as much steel as the rest of the world combined—more than four times the peak U.S. production in the 1970s. But as China’s growth slows, the excess steel that Chinese industry doesn’t need is washing up overseas.
As imports have increased, jobs in the domestic steel industry are declining. Take Northwest Indiana for example: The Region has lost more than 1,000 jobs this year, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana.
THE PLAYING FIELD
The domestic steel industry can compete and win, when the playing field is level. But that’s simply not the case anymore.
U.S. steel producers must fight for fairness at the International Trade Commission (ITC) by filing a trade case. Even when a trade case is won – the damage has already been done.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing, along with domestic steelmakers and American workers, fought last year to Save Our Steel Jobs from unfairly dumped oil country tubular goods steel from South Korea. And though the ITC voted in favor of domestic steel producers, several mills had already been idled.
Presidents and lawmakers show up on the factory floor during campaign season. It’s time they aggressively defend this vital domestic industry on the international stage.