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WASHINGTON -- Despite President Bush's action last March to bring under control the amount of foreign steel flooding into the U.S., total stainless steel imports increased by 4% in the first nine months of this year compared to the same 2001 period. According to the latest available data, which covers January through September 2002 and was released today by the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA), U.S. producers of stainless steel sheet/strip and stainless steel plate, products not covered by the President's import relief action, were particularly hard hit. Stainless steel sheet/strip imports reached 222,166 tons in YTD September 2002, a 12% increase over last year. These imports took a 19% bite out of U.S. market share compared to 17% in 2001. At 42,977 tons, stainless steel plate imports for the subject period increased 38% over last year, capturing 22% of the U.S. market. This reflects a four percentage point increase in import penetration over 2001. SSINA Chairman H.L. Kephart explained, "Stainless steel imports averaged 43,969 tons per month through September, even with the President's relief program in place. Unless a drastic reduction in imports occurs between now and the end of the year, the industry is looking at stainless steel imports remaining at the same 2001 level of approximately 508,000 tons and losing almost one-quarter of our own market to foreign product." Imports of stainless steel bar, rod and wire, products subject to import relief tariffs, decreased. Nine-month import penetration, however, remained high at 41% for stainless steel bar and 67% for stainless steel rod. "The import crisis that our industry has battled for more than a decade will continue unless and until anti-competitive behavior that distorts markets and impedes fair competition and trade is identified and dealt with," Kephart stated. "We support the intention of President Bush to address, together with other governments, these issues." Total specialty steel imports, which include stainless steel, alloy tool steel and electrical steel, decreased 3%. Nine-month import penetration for all specialty steel, however, did not change, remaining at 26%. (See chart below for more information on U.S. imports, consumption, and market penetration data.) SSINA is a Washington, DC-based trade association representing virtually all continental specialty steel producers. Specialty steels are high technology, high value stainless and other specialty alloy products. While shipments of specialty steel account for only 2% of all steel shipped, annual revenues of approximately $8 billion account for 14% of the total value of all steel shipped. Source: Specialty Steel Industry of North America

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October 17, 2017, 7:13 pm PDT

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