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November 2004

August 2004 Steel Imports Highest Level in 3 Years

Washington, DC— Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that the U.S. imported a total of 3,412,000 net tons (NT) of steel in August (up 8.6 percent from the previous month), including 2,780,000 NT of finished steel (up 5.7 percent). These were the highest import levels since August 2000 and, year-to-date (YTD), imports in both categories are up over 41 percent compared to the same period last year.

Several product categories showed large import increases in August compared to July, including sheet & strip-all other metallic coated (up 87 percent), standard pipe (up 43 percent), semi-finished steel, imported in significant quantity by converters (up 24 percent), plates in coil (up 21 percent), cold rolled sheets (up 18 percent), concrete reinforcing bars & rods (up 17 percent), tin plate (up 15 percent), and bars–light shapes (up 14 percent).

“The sharp increase in imports supports the need to continue import monitoring and enhance the existing system,” stated David S. Sutherland, president and CEO of IPSCO Inc. and chairman of AISI. Through seven months of 2004 compared to the same period last year, finished steel imports are up 34 percent. This is more than double the 16 percent gain in steel consumption. As a result, steel import penetration in the U.S. in this period has increased from 16.6 to 19.2 percent. Sutherland suggested that, “Access to timely and accurate information is especially important at the present time. What we are seeing today are record levels of global steel production, volatile changes in world steel markets and massive new steel capacity increases offshore.”

Andrew G. Sharkey, III, AISI president and CEO, thanked those who provided comments to the Department of Commerce last week in support of extending and enhancing the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system. “The Commerce Department request for comments on the SIMA system resulted in a show of overwhelming support for continuing and strengthening the current program. We wish to thank the government officials, steel industry suppliers and customers, NAFTA partner industries and all those who submitted supportive statements. This support included a bipartisan House letter signed by 72 Members and 12 Senate letters signed by 14 Senators. We appreciate this support and continue to urge Congress to enact this program through legislation, as proposed in H.R. 4730 and S. 2722.”

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