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SURGING IMPORTS OF SPECIALTY STEEL

 WASHINGTON, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Specialty steel imports continued to soar in the opening two months of 1993 according to Department of Commerce data released today by the Specialty Steel Industry of the United States (SSIUS).
 Comparing high-value specialty steel imports during the two-month (January-February) period with 1992, the increases ranged up to 80 percent depending on product line. Increases were reported in all products except electrical steel as tabulated below:
 Imports Imports
 (tons) (tons)
 Jan.-Feb. Jan.-Feb. Percent
 Product 1992 1993 Increase
 Stainless steel sheet & strip 35,673 40,727 14
 Stainless steel plate 5,100 7,315 43
 Stainless steel bar 6,631 8,826 33
 Stainless steel rod 4,963 8,928 80
 Stainless steel wire 3,066 3,138 2
 55,433 68,934 24
 Tool steel 4,969 5,973 20
 Electrical steel 16,045 15,347 (4.4)
 "Stainless steel imports increased 24 percent in the 1993 two-month period versus last year. The continuing sharp hike in imports follows a 26 percent increase for the stainless products group in the year 1992 over the prior year," Robert E. Heaton, chairman of SSIUS said today.
 "The astonishing speed and intensity of import growth since expiration of the Voluntary Restraint Agreements (VRAs) on March 31, 1992, strengthens our belief that foreign producers with governmental support have targeted our wide-open domestic markets and are imperiling American jobs. The sad truth is that dumping and foreign government subsidies continue to undermine this high technology sector of the American steel industry," Heaton said.
 In his prepared remarks delivered to the Senate Steel Caucus in Washington, Heaton said: "For our part, the Specialty Steel Industry of the United States will continue to be aggressive in utilizing the trade laws to challenge the unfair import competition threatening our domestic markets. In the last year, in conjunction with the United Steelworkers of America, we have already brought and won antidumping cases against Korea and Taiwan on stainless steel pipe products, and we have successfully initiated and completed the initial injury phase of antidumping cases on stainless wire rod from India, Brazil and France, and stainless steel pipe from Malaysia. A number of other cases is also under active consideration.
 "On the international negotiating front, the specialty steel industry supports the continuing effort to find a multilateral solution to the problem of foreign government subsidization. We are, however, skeptical at best about any multilateral agreement that will grandfather


past subsidy programs, or which will provide waivers so broad that the fundamental purpose of the agreement will be undermined. We are also deeply concerned about the attempt by foreign producers to utilize the MSA process and the GATT negotiations to weaken U.S. trade laws. The trade laws, and the remedies that have flowed from their enforcement, have been the most effective lines of defense against the unfair trade practices that have plagued our domestic markets. The predisposition on the part of our trading partners to use the multilateral negotiation process to weaken our trade laws is a recurring theme. On behalf of my industry, I urges this caucus to do everything possible to resist this effort.
 "With foreign steel producers facing substantial dumping and countervailing duties as a result of the trade cases now before the Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission, we expect a number of proposals to be floated in the coming year, which may embody "political solutions" to the steel trade problem. Such solutions could take any of a number of forms, including quotas, VRAs, regional agreements, a multilateral steel agreement or some government-enforced price undertaking. As you examine these proposals, you must understand that for any program to be effective, it must cover all primary steel mill products. The exclusion of some steel mill products from a comprehensive import program would almost certainly lead to increased imports and a higher level of injury to U.S. firms producing products not covered by the program. Foreign producers have repeatedly demonstrated the capacity to shift production from steel products covered by import programs to uncovered products to recapture some of the revenues lost by the program. The specialty steel industry has been the most vulnerable segment of the steel industry to this phenomenon, because our higher value products create an added incentive for foreign producers to increase their manufacture and export of these products. Unlike the United States, where most specialty steel is produced by independent, medium-sized companies, overseas specialty steel is produced by many of the same integrated carbon steel producers that have been the primary beneficiaries of their home governments' largesse. The ability of these volume producers to shift capacity from low-value to high-value products is well-documented and remains a pre-eminent concern of our industry."
 The Specialty Steel Industry of the United States is a Washington- based trade association representing U.S. producers of stainless and alloy tool steels, electrical steels and other high technology metals. The industry employs approximately 35,000 men and women and has annual shipments of about $6 billion.
 -0- 4/22/93
 /CONTACT: Bert Delano, 412-394-2813 or Meg Mullery, 202-342-8439, both for the Special Steel Industry of the United States/


CO: Specialty Steel Industry of the United States ST: District of Columbia IN: MNG SU: EXE

IH-DS -- DC021 -- 9619 04/22/93 15:11 EDT
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Date:Apr 22, 1993
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