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Export clampdown proposed.

The U.S. Commerce Department is beginning to hear from different sectors of the business community concerning the climbing price and scarce availability of ferrous scrap.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, a "coalition of steel producers and consumers" has been meeting with the U.S. Commerce Department to urge the Rush Administration to impose limits on how much ferrous scrap can be exported. These same trade groups are considering whether to present formal petitions to the Commerce Department, according to the report.

Although the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI), Washington, has announced the hiring of an established Capitol Hill lobbying firm, scrap traders could face stern competition from an array of corporate interests.

Steelmakers and users alike appear to be lining up to ask for the scrap export restrictions, as both segments are finding high scrap costs cutting into their profitability and causing them to delay productivity increases. Their arguments could be persuasive, particularly in an election year when a healthy manufacturing segment would help the prospects of incumbent politicians.

Among those quoted in the Wall Street Journal report as being concerned about the situation is automaker DaimlerChrysler and the Forging Industry Association. The electric are furnace steelmaking organization the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) was also reported to have met with the Commerce Department concerning the scrap situation.

The companies and trade groups banding together may well present a formal petition to the Commerce Department, which the department would reportedly have to react to within 15 days, either by implementing restrictions or by pledging to monitor the situation.

ISRI's made its position clear in an early February news release, in which it announced that it has "retained counsel and created a blue ribbon industry panel to provide strategic advice in the effort to counter recent threats of an attack on free trade by certain segments of the steel industry seeking to impose export controls on ferrous scrap."

The panel of advisors will consist of "many of the country's leading scrap metal processors and exporters," according to the ISRI release.

"As the voice of the recycling industry, ISRI will vigorously defend free and fair trade practices in scrap metal," said ISRI Chair Charles "Cricket" Williams. "We must fight to ensure that U.S. scrap processors are not unfairly kept from participating in the world scrap marketplace."
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Title Annotation:Scrap Industry News; ferrous scrap prices rise
Comment:Export clampdown proposed.(Scrap Industry News)(ferrous scrap prices rise)
Publication:Recycling Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:389
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