AISI Speaks Out Against Foreign Government Measures that Threaten Harm to American Steel Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11, 2009 – The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) issued a statement today criticizing the actions taken earlier this week by the governments of China and Brazil to support their domestic steel industries.

Following is the statement, by Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI:

“The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) has great concern over foreign government actions that are impacting the global steel market to the detriment of North American steel producers.   One such action is the Chinese government’s decision to raise its VAT export rebates on a wide array of flat, long, and tubular products.   This government action – reflective of China's longstanding efforts to manipulate its VAT system in order to promote steel exports -- is particularly reckless in light of the fact that we are facing a global recession.

Brazil's action is different, but also of concern.  The Brazilian government raised tariffs (restoring tariffs to previously applied tariff rates) on imports of certain steel products.  This action will likely divert world steel exports to NAFTA markets.

Since the United States has neither a system of VAT rebates to stimulate exports nor any import duties on steel mill products (we agreed to go to zero steel tariffs in the Uruguay Round), these moves represent particular harm to American steel producers.   The fact these trade-restricting and trade-distorting actions were apparently taken largely by fiat, and without any transparency in process or policy, is a further cause for concern – reflecting a tendency to promote particular outcomes in trade through direct government interventions, rather than through a transparent, rules-based approach.

We are flagging these actions for our own government to review in light of the importance of trade relations between the U.S. government and the governments of both China and Brazil.”

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the material of choice.  AISI plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.  AISI is comprised of 24 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 138 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.  AISI's member companies represent over 75 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.  For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s Web site at www.steel.org

Contact:
Nancy Gravatt
Vice President, Communications
American Iron and Steel Institute
Tel: 202.452.7115