Steel Traders Assail U.S. Trade Barriers
June 15, 2000
Steel importers and exporters are steeping up their attack on restrictive U.S. trade laws with a new report claiming Americans unnecessarily spend billions of dollars annually due to the barriers.
According to the report from the American Institute for International Steel, "Paying the Price for Big Steel":
- Restrictions have forced domestic consumers to pay $46 billion to $76 billion more than necessary for steel during the past 30 years.
- U.S. steel makers have benefited by more than $7.8 billion from Clean Air Act exemptions and have forced governments to purchase domestic steel at prices 25 percent higher than available foreign steel.
- Big steel companies squandered more than $308 million in research and development subsidies and saddled the federal government's pension fund with at least $2.3 billion in debts.
- Domestic steel makers claim their foreign rivals are unfairly dumping cheap steel in U.S. markets -- and are lobbying for even more restrictions.
Officials at the American Iron and Steel Institute -- which represents U.S. steel companies -- claim the report is biased and say they are looking forward "to critiquing in detail the study."
Current steel demand in the U.S. is outstripping domestic capacity. But domestic manufacturers are being forced to hold down prices in order to maintain market share, experts report.
Source: Robert Guy Matthews, "Foreign Steel Makers Say Consumers in the U.S. Have Overpaid by Billions," Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2000.
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